Reading a book can feel like a luxury — something we do on vacation instead of weekly or even monthly.
But learning is essential to our ongoing growth as marketers. Thanks to the proliferation of easy-to-digest short-form content, picking up a book often falls off our priority lists. We’re all looking for ways to carve out more time to read. Yet with so many marketing books available, how do we cut through the noise and figure out what we should be reading?
We asked the marketing books expert: Douglas Burdett, host of the hugely popular Marketing Book Podcast and Principal and Owner of Artillery, a B2B Marketing Agency. I invited Doug to join me and Joel on the Marketing Cloudcast — the marketing podcast from Salesforce — to provide his actually useful advice on fitting more books into our lives and brains, and what to read about once we've prioritized it.
Take a listen here:
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Douglas.
When asked why he thinks it’s so important for marketers to supplement their diet with books, Douglas says, “Mark Zuckerberg started a book club. He said that books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today. When the founder of Facebook tells you that it’s important to be reading books, that says something.”
Plus, as Douglas explains, “Books are part of a balanced learning diet. Ongoing learning is so important for marketers today.”
Digital is changing everything in marketing, and there’s lots of learning to be done. But with so many books out there, how does Douglas pick the best books for his own reading diet and his podcast listeners? Douglas says that he looks first at books that interest him personally.
“I want to challenge my listeners with ideas. I want them to be successful. I want marketers to understand that they are not just arts and crafts party planners that work for the make-it-pretty department. They need to be part of the revenue camp,” he says.
As a marketer, you want to embrace lifelong learning. And Douglas feels that many marketers still have plenty to learn about our craft, especially in this age where we may over-emphasize new digital channels. He shares, "There are lots of basic marketing principles that companies sorely need. My favorite books are the ones that talk about the alignment of sales and marketing.”
Blogs are great for staying up to speed on tactical things. However, as Douglas points out, “There needs to be a better understanding of marketing’s connection to the pipeline and the customer experience. Also, the importance of selling to your existing customers. That’s where the money is. Yet, this isn’t what comes to mind when many people think about marketing.”
Douglas’ favorite must-read books are ones that focus on aligning marketing with sales. “You get faster growth and higher profitability when a company’s sales and marketing are aligned,” says Douglas.
Looking for your next great marketing read? Douglas suggests marketers pick up the following:
Aligned to Achieve by Andrea Austin and Tracy Eiler
The Challenger Customer: Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon
Social Selling Mastery by Jamie Shanks
The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader: How to Succeed by Building Customer and Company Value by Thomas Barta and Patrick Barwise
Douglas makes sure to read one book weekly. He jokes, “It’s really cut into my scotch drinking.” Like most of us, he lives an incredibly busy life. So how does he find the time?
“When people say that they don’t have time for something, it’s really not about time. It’s about the priority,” says Douglas.
One of his favorite productivity hacks: put away your phone and delete the most tempting time-sucking apps. “I’ve removed from my iPhone Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You would be amazed how much more time you would have if you weren’t always looking at your phone,” Douglas says.
If you still need convincing, Douglas points out, “The average American spends 680 hours on social media per year. That’s the equivalent of 400 books.”
What makes a great marketing book? “The books that interest me most are books that teach marketers how to get into the C-suite and eventually become the CEO,” shares Douglas.
When asked if he has any advice for aspiring authors he says, “The key is to get a really good editor. There are books that are exceptionally well-written and a joy to read. These authors will always say the same thing: I had a really good editor.”
And that’s just scratching the surface of our conversation with Douglas Burdett (@MarketingBook). Get the complete scoop on why we should all read more marketing books in this episode of the Marketing Cloudcast.
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