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Don’t Call Yourself a Marketer Until You’ve Read These 9 Books

The modern-day and age of digital marketing and advertising is great, and it gives many creative and skilled people a way to sell products and services, but…

Many of the so-called “experts” in marketing, copywriting, etc. have never read a single book on the subject.

If they have it’s a modern book that yes, probably has some benefits, but the books on this list are the pillars of how to sell anything through words and advertisements, not passing trends and fads.

If you consider yourself a marketing professional, whether you run an agency, freelance, or do the copywriting for your own business, there is a goldmine in these books that you can pull from for a lifetime.  

I guarantee you that if you ask any word-class advertiser or marketer, they will tell you at least one of these books shaped them and helped make them the marketing professional they are today.

Don’t pay for another online course until you have read all 9 of these books, most of everything in those high-priced courses can be found in the pages of these books. 

1. Scientific Advertising by Claude C. Hopkins

David Ogilvy, one of the most famous ad men to ever live, once said “Nobody, at any level, should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times.

It changed the course of my life.”

If that alone doesn’t win you over, it was published in 1923 and is still relevant today, despite some opinion’s that it’s outdated. If someone can’t take ideas and rules that worked in this book and translate them to the modern day, they shouldn’t be in marketing, period.

This book does a great job of demonstrating that marketing and sales can be broken down into a science, through split testing and measuring results. A must-read for marketers and copywriters.

2. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk! By Al Ries & Jack Trout

Published in 1993, this is a must-read as well. Yes, it was written before the internet and many internet gurus call it outdated, but the laws given in this book apply to everything being marketed today.

If you are involved in the strategy of any kind of marketing, you need to read this book ASAP.

3. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

Often called “The Father of Advertising”, David Ogilvy gives incredible approaches and strategies to creating advertisements, getting clients, making campaigns that work, and so much more.

This book lets you in on the mind of a marketer and advertiser that understood human and sales psychology most of us can only be jealous of, but luckily, he gave us something to learn from.

4. Influence by Robert B. Cialdini

This book is a national bestseller and essential to knowing human psychology and why people say “yes”, and as someone trying to convince people to buy or choose things, you need to understand these principles.

This isn’t a book written specifically for people in marketing, but the rules still apply to how humans behave and there is plenty of gold in this book.

I’d go so far as to say that in marketing or not, anyone can benefit from reading this book.

5. The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Copy That Sells by Robert W. Bly

Even if you don’t write your own copy in your marketing materials, you should at least understand the fundamentals.

This book doesn’t dive super deep into any category but gives a great overview of how to write copy that persuades and sells. Robert Bly is one of the leading living copywriters in the world and knows what he’s talking about. Give this a read and know awesome sales copy when you see it.


6. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads by Luke Sullivan and Edward Boches

This book like everything else on this list should be a requirement before getting into marketing and advertising. It’s the most humorous book on this list and gives a great history of advertising from the Man-men area of the 1950s to modern advertising in the digital age. It teaches you many skills needed to make it in the ad industry.

This is a great one for seasoned vets and amateurs and helps to teach the more creative side of what makes great marketing and advertising.

7. The Boron Letters by Gary C. Halbert

The Boron Letters is a classic that every marketer needs to read. Gary Halbert is one of the greatest copywriters to ever live and knew more than anyone in the world about how to make direct mail work.

This book is not exactly a book, but a collection of letters written to his son, Bond Halbert. Gary gives insider tips in a conversational loving tone to his son as he tries to teach his son bond about advertising, business, and life.

This one should be viewed like the first book on the list, Scientific Advertising, and read many times.

8. The Ultimate Sales Letter: Attract New Customers. Boost Your Sales by Dan S. Kennedy

If you work in marketing and don’t know Dan Kennedy, shame on you, my friend. Go grab a copy of this book, or any of Dan’s books for that matter, and devour it before the marketing police find out you haven’t read it.

This is a short read but gives you everything you need to write a killer sales letter or online sales page. A must-read if you sell with words in any form.

9. Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples

Yet another classic that should be read by anyone who claims to be a marketer. This book is full of proven studied ways of advertising to make it less of a gamble and more of a science.

This book is old, like most on the list, which means it has stood the test of time and is full of timeless ways to improve your ability to sell products and services. It’s a bit pricier than most books but as a marketer or copywriter, you can’t afford to not buy it and read it. Thank me later.

How many have you read?

If you work in the advertising and marketing industry and have read all 9 of these books, bravo, you’re probably a successful marketer. Read 5 or more, still good, but read the other 4 and elevate your game. If you’ve read only 3 or fewer, you’re still better than 99 percent of people in the industry, but find more time to read and learn from the legends.

If you haven’t read any of these books,you’re just waiting to be discovered as a fraud. Go now, buy all nine online, and read them, quickly…

Before someone finds you out. 

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