Finding the best marketing books should be a top priority for you and your firm. Whether you work as a marketer in an agency or in-house, it’s important to stay on top of industry changes and new teachings. It’s safe to say that marketing isn’t the same industry it was even five years ago. If you’re a CEO, CMO, or senior level at your firm, you know how crucial it is to stay ahead of industry trends—and how challenging that can be when the industry is constantly evolving.

Marketers should be learning and reading as much material around marketing and business development strategy as possible, however it’s always a challenge to find something engaging and educational.

The Propero team have put a list together of the most engaging, educational and best marketing books they’ve read this year, that have in turn been recommended to our clients. Here are the five best marketing books of 2018:



Propero’s best marketing books of 2018


1. Pre-suasion by Robert Cialdini

This is an insightful read by Robert Cialdini, author of the critically acclaimed Influence, published in 1984. His long-awaited follow up—Pre-suasion—was published in 2016 and became the New York Times and Wall Street Journal’s bestseller, gaining worldwide recognition.

Pre-suasion follows similar themes to Influence, in that it explores how to persuade clients and buyers to react positively towards your selling and marketing efforts. Pre-suasion specifically talks about how to condition clients before giving them your message, so that they’re more receptive towards it.

Though the book is primarily sociological and psychological, Cialdini does give examples of how to influence purchase behaviour and willingness to spend more. He cites studies demonstrating how free gifts increase business dramatically, how people are pre-suaded to purchase due to commonalities and receiving compliments, and how social proof actually works.

A note from Rosie: Cialdini’s Pre-suasion was an eye opening and original read, and one of the best marketing books I’ve read this year. He backs up his claims through first-hand experiences, years of research and in-depth evidence. While Pre-suasion is mainly promoted as a business book, it’s educational content is worth reading outside of the business environment, as Cialdini explores and proves many (retrospectively) recognisable psychological tricks that marketers and advertisers use day-to-day.


2. How to: Social media for professional services firms by Propero Partners


Social media for businesses has really boomed over the last few years, primarily due to the arrival of millennials in the workplace. As millennials grow older and move up the ranks in firms, it’s important to get to grips with the channels of communication they use most often, and take advantage of them for the future of your business.

When done well, marketing helps your firm be present in the right places to attract your right-fit clients. This includes social media maintenance. With ROI-driven, measurable marketing campaigns put in place, you’ll begin to attract the prospects that are interested in the services you provide.

Alongside explaining why social media is a must to help grow your professional services firm, this book runs through which social media platforms are right for you, how to make the most out of your social profiles, actionable social media takeaways and how to achieve your business goals in clear, concise language that anybody can understand.

A note from Melissa: As a learning tool, Propero’s How to: Social media for professional services firms is a truly educational read. For those firms who are very hit and miss with their marketing efforts and who may have given up on social media marketing, this book highlights the common pitfalls and how to get right-fit clients for your firm through readily available, free channels.


3. Blue ocean strategy: How to create uncontested market space and make competition irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne


This book challenges everything you thought you knew about the requirements for strategic success within a B2B competitive environment.

Recognised as one of the most iconic and impactful strategy books ever written, Blue Ocean Strategy argues that cutthroat competition results in nothing but rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool. The authors argue that lasting success comes not from battling competitors but from creating “blue oceans”―untapped new market spaces ripe for growth.

The book highlights organisations that made the shift and created new markets by applying the process and tools outlined in the book. Whether you are a cash-strapped startup or large, established company, you will learn how to move in a way that builds your client’s confidence so that they own and drive the process.

A note from Matt: This book holds solid practical advice on business strategy. What it does best is give you a formula to think about things you may not have considered in your drive to compete with other companies in your space. Blue Ocean Strategy really is a must for business owners working in such a competitive space.


4. Top of mind: Use content to unleash your influence and engage those who matter to you by John Hall


Every day, potential opportunities are all around you—you just have to increase the likelihood that these opportunities will come to you. If you create meaningful relationships in your professional life with clients, partners, and industry influencers, you can position yourself to stay at the forefront of your clients’ minds.

Top of mind explains how client needs and expectations have changed and what this shift means for those interested in building a long-lasting, trustworthy, and influential brand—something incredibly important for professional services firms. From building strong, transparent relationships by helping others to amplify your message through content, Hall discusses what it truly takes to build trust, earn space at the top of your audience’s minds, and create opportunity for your firm.

A note from Natalie: In addition to the practical, hands-on knowledge that Hall offers on content marketing, there are also creative, pragmatic relationship-building tips that are seamlessly woven into the narrative. This not only makes it one of the best marketing books I’ve read in the last few months, but also fits with his overall philosophy on both content and business in general. After finishing the book, you’ll come away with a much better insight into content marketing, and a clearer understanding of how to stay at the forefront of prospective clients’ minds.


5. Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Digital Distraction by Derek Thomson


This is an important topic for marketers whose main goal is to make their products known and loved by as many people in their target market as possible. One conclusion Thomson draws is that there are no hard and fast rules to what makes things pop, but there are some reliable patterns.

  • Simplicity
  • Familiarity
  • Frequency
  • Influential supporters
  • Catchy copy
  • Cross-channel support
  • Gradual innovation


A note from Jonathan: Hit Makers is a fascinating examination and analysis of why some content catches on and others don’t. How does one even determine “the best” when subjective judgment is the root of determination? It’s clear that luck plays a role, but there is also far more to finding an audience than to getting a lucky break. Thomson talks through patterns that attract an audience, including the rhetorical flourishes that speechwriters use to capture an audience’s interest.

These are only a few of the best marketing books that members of our team have read this year, so if you’d like to talk through any of the books we’ve suggested reading, or have any suggestions yourself, drop one of our account managers an email and we’ll get back to you.

If you’re interested in reading more educational material, take a look at How to: Website optimisation for professional services firms: Volume 2 (Marketing for non-marketers).

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