Over the weekend, one of my readers emailed and asked this very smart question:
We are hiring someone “green” to do marketing for us in about a month. I thought that starting someone from the ground up would be a good way to build someone’s skills for our business and not have to pay a small fortune at the same time. Do you have a couple of books that you would recommend for this person? I’m looking for books on both general marketing theory and on the nuts-and-bolts.
So that you don’t overwhelm them on that first day, let’s go with 6 books.
That’ll start them off with a good baseline so they won’t spend a huge pile of your money and have no idea whether it was well spent or not – plus it may avoid scaring them to death:)
It’s hard to come up with a list that short until these 2 questions came to mind:
- What books would I least want to give up if I found out they were the last copies ever?
- What books would I want someone to have if they were going to spend a lot of my money on marketing without my oversight?
With those thoughts in mind, it was easy:)
Number 1 – your business procedures manual. (no, not the HR policy manual, ugh)
I’m sure you have one, right? I mean, we’ve ALL read Michael Gerber’s E-Myth (that was sneaky wasn’t it?), so we know how important that procedures manual is. I’m talking about the manual that your newbie assistant manager would use to run the place while you are off on that romantic cruise that you promised someone about 15 years ago. It has all the vendor contact info, how to turn off the alarm, how to lock up for the night, how to Z out the cash register (and when), how to do all the things that someone has to be trained for – step by step, so you don’t have to be a dozen places at once, or interrupted 72 times per day.
Number 2 – Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. Doesn’t seem like a marketing book from the title, but it’s critical path brain food for someone who will be coming up with copy, headlines, emails and so on. Both practical and theory, this one is a keeper.
Number 3 – The Ultimate Marketing Plan by Dan Kennedy. Mostly practical. Dan isn’t much on theory, instead he relies on results. Not very thick, not very expensive, but worth a ton.
Number 4 – The Secrets of Successful Direct Mail by Dick Benson. Not just about direct mail, if you look closely. Definitely a must have for anyone who sticks an envelope in the mail. The list at the front is worth the price of the book.
Number 5 – My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins. These come in 1 volume, so I counted them as one. So there. Claude was marketing like a master before your parents were born, or most likely so. Even this many years later, something to have on your marketing nightstand.
Number 6 – Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples. That’s Caples as in Ogilvy, Caples and other world-class folks from last century.
Total expenditure: About $94 or so new, even less if bought used.
PS: Being the shy person I am, I would have recommended a 7th one: Business is Personal – The book, but it isn’t out yet…
In fact, it was a little hard not to include a handful of others on this list, but this will get you started. Next time, perhaps I’ll limit it to books written in this century:) And besides, I don’t think Gary Bencivenga has a book:)