Chief Marketing Officer News (CMO), Growth Marketing, Marketing Strategy
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Top 12 Marketing Books Every CMO Should Read in 2024

Eveline Smet

Founder & Growth Strategist

You may be surprised to hear that the average American reads about 14 books each year. However, the most successful people in the business world are often avid readers of books.

The founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates claims to read about 50 books each year. Even though he visits many places and meets interesting people, he likes reading books to learn new things more.

When he was younger, the entrepreneur and inventor Elon Musk read a lot as well. He says that he would spend hours per day reading books, usually about science-fiction.

What about the investor Warren Buffett? This billionaire magnet spends up to 80% of his day reading newspapers and magazines, as well as dozens of books.

Are you a seriously committed CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) for your company? You should be tearing through marketing books all the time. But, it’s not always easy to know where to start. There are so many amazing marketing books available.

Check out our month by month guide to the best marketing books you should read this year. Let’s go!

January – More is More by Black Morgan

It can be pretty gloomy in January. Therefore, it’s important to have a page-turner to make the month go faster. Customer experience is increasingly within the domain of the CMO. You’re expected to do more than hand the money to the TV ad guys.

Morgan explains that consumers want a better customer experience. In fact, up to 48% of consumers say they’ll pay more for quality customer experience.

If you feel as though you’re entering unknown territory with customer experience. That wasn’t in your training, right? Black Morgan’s More is More can help you navigate your way to improve the customer experience in your organization.

This marketing book promises to reveal “how the best companies go farther and work harder to create knock-your-socks-off customer experiences.”
Morgan doesn’t have any time for people who talk without action. This is a book which gives you the blueprint for strategizing with your team to transform customer experience at your company.

February – Outside Insight by Jørn Lyseggen

Your organization has probably been collecting data about everything from the efficiency of your operations to customer satisfaction.

This is what Lyseggen calls “internal data”. He argues that many companies are in a bubble of their own making. It can feel like you’re drowning in data unable to make decisions.

You make decisions about how to change your organization’s operations on the basis of data which you have generated yourselves. Since the world is data-driven, you can learn to tap into “external data” to inform yourself about how to run your company better.

As well as helpful insights from a wide range of other fields and sectors, Lyseggen provides “real world” examples.

You’ll be introduced to a group of researchers in Norway who gather data on how the spelling of the word “Ketchup” changed over time.

You get to meet a glass window company which tracks breaking and entering to determine the demand for replacement windows.

You’ll come away with a better understanding of how to harness data to drive business decisions which actually bring results.

March – Performance Partnerships by Robert Glazer

Glazer’s book is about how to make the most of affiliate marketing. This is defined as performance-based marketing where a company rewards affiliate companies for each customer converted.

Glazer makes two arguments at the start of his marketing book.The first is that “affiliate marketing” is largely misunderstood. The second is that the strategy has not been utilized effectively enough.

The experienced entrepreneur and author hope to fill in the gaps.If you were ever on the fence about whether affiliate marketing is right for your organization, you’ll be convinced after reading this book.

April – Top of Mind by John Hall

As spring begins to set in, you should be looking for a book which brightens your mood going forward.

John Hall has produced a book which has been described as “an absolute must-read for any professional or company seeking to build influence and lead their industry.” That’s quite an assessment!

Top of Mind tells the story of how Hall established himself, his brand and a wide network of business relationships.

Once you open the first page of this marketing book, you won’t be able to put it down until you’ve finished it. Even then, you’ll want to start at the beginning again. Even in our “digital age” the most important skill for any CMO remains the capacity to build relationships with other people.

This is the most engaging book you’ll ever read about how to form a business network to drive your organization forward.

May – Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

In today’s world, every person has a brand. You cannot fight this trend. Handley wants us to embrace it!

She reminds us that ultimately marketing is about producing engaging and interesting content which is geared towards your target audience.

Whether you’re working for a small startup or business conglomerate, it’s the same deal for everyone. You’ve got to produce great content! The marketing veteran takes us through how to produce outstanding content, tell our story and publish it ourselves.

In “Everybody Writes” you’ll find an impressive range of tips and tricks to improve your content for the digital age.

June – Chief Marketing Officers at Work by Josh Steimle

At the height of summer, you can start to ask yourself the big questions in life.

Such as, is marketing an art or a science? That’s a philosophical question like few others. Steimle’s book offers you a meditation on this subject. It’s certainly true that data analytics, digital marketing, and automation are transforming what it means to work in marketing.

However, CMOs have to hold on to the elements of creativity and innovation which characterize marketing as well.

Steimle helps you to balance the two perspectives at the same time. Think about if you could handle both aspects of marketing. You would be unstoppable!

This marketing book puts together the insights and expertise of dozens of marketing professionals who have been successful in their fields.

You won’t believe how much you can learn from other colleagues in your field. You’ll be better equipped to achieve your goals after reading this essential book.

July – Hug the Haters by Jay Baer

If you want to add a dose of humor to your collection of marketing books, Baer’s Hug the Haters is a must-read.

It is a pretty alarming statistic that over 80% of organizations say that they provide outstanding customer service. The fact is that only 8% of customers agree with this assessment. There appears to be a gap in expectations here.

This is the problem that Baer investigates in his engaging and highly relevant book. He argues that companies don’t speak to their customers enough.

You need to get out there on social media to really get to know what’s on the minds of your customers. Engaging with dissatisfied customers is absolutely essential for Baer.

August – They Ask You Answer by Marcus Sheridan

You’re probably looking for the perfect summer vacation reading. Marcus Sheridan’s “They Ask You Answer” is the ideal solution.

Sheridan’s book takes you back to the year 2008. In the middle of the housing crisis, the author’s pool company was struggling.

You’ll discover how his company went from treading water to an undeniable success story over a few years. According to the big man, success was built on the strategy of content marketing.

The company started to produce online content which promoted his brand and product. The content simply answered FAQs and expanded from there.

Sheridan explains how you could be wasting your marketing budget on television ads or online ad banners.

He argues that you’ve got to build trust between your company and your customer base. Only then will you be able to establish yourself.

September – The Content Formula by Michael Brenner and Liz Bedor

If you haven’t had enough content marketing on your reading list for this year, you should explore the Content Formula as well.

If you’re not familiar with content marketing, the prospect of producing high-quality content for your company’s website may be overwhelming.

Sheridan’s book is about inspiring you to invest in content marketing for your company. Brenner and Bedor can explain the nuts and bolts.

This book breaks everything down to the nitty-gritty so that you can construct your content marketing approach from the ground up.

After you come to the end of this career-changing book, you’ll know everything you need to know to drive your marketing efforts forward.

October – I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi

Sometimes, the best marketing books are not actually marketing books. Since marketing is ultimately about human beings, you never know where you’re going to unearth insights into how to better connect with people.

You need to keep an open mind to where you can discover powerful knowledge and unearth valuable information.

Ajayi’s hilarious and profound book is described by Redbook as “the ultimate handbook on the dos and don’ts of socially navigating the digital era.”

The author is described by the New York Times as “the internet’s newest comic phenom.”

This is a guide to “do better”, according to the author. You’ll experience every emotion while reading this book and you’ll never forget its message or insights.

November – This Is Marketing by Seth Godin

As the cold winter gradually brings the temperature down, it’s time for a book which challenges your assumptions about what you thought you knew.

The profound title of the book is worth reflecting on. Godin writes, “You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See.” This is the essence of his understanding of marketing. If you want to develop your marketing strategies, you’ve got to learn about the world around you.

Godin argues that marketing can never appeal to everyone. You’ve got to accept that you’re targeting a niche audience with your message.

This marketing book gets quite conceptional. But, readers who are willing to undergo a little philosophizing will be treated to some peaches.

This book helps you to understand how you can create a story with your brand. While he is not shy about telling you his feelings about marketers who cut prices to reach customers.

December – Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker

This is not just a marketing book. This is a book which everyone in business (and beyond) should read.

The subtitle of Barking Up The Wrong Tree is “The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong.”

You’ll be treated to some nuggets of insight.

These include the fact that people who say “I” and “me” a lot have a higher chance of failure in business. And also, people who enjoy drinking alcohol make on average more money than people who abstain from alcohol.

Barker portrays an outstanding ability to use scientific evidence to make his argument compelling and engaging. He takes you through a journey of the well-trodden paths to success.

The author harnesses data to make the case for being optimistic. He also shows why the data supports putting in hours and hours of hard work to achieve results.

Barker is also a big prominent of gamification. This is the belief that transforming work tasks into games is the most effective approach. In other words, adding fun into dull chores.

Twelve Marketing Books for Twelve Months

This could be the year that you really get to the grips with the best marketing books ever published. There is only so much you can learn from reading business blogs and following entrepreneurs on social media.

After a while, you’ve got to commit to reading the top marketing books which are shaping the debate about how to reach out to your customers.

Do you want to discover more about how you can improve your marketing efforts for your organization? You should get in touch with The Growth Agency!

Questions? Comments? Ideas! We’d love to hear from you! do not hesitate to drop us a note 😊

Eveline Smet

Founder & Growth Strategist

Eveline is our founder and the one who eats strategy for breakfast. She is in charge of budgets, KPI’s and growth plans. During her high school years, Eveline was wearing baggy pants and listening to 2PAC & Biggy. We have proof. Just ask. If you ever catch her looking off into the distance, it’s either because she wants to order sushi or she’s hungry thinking of ways to increase your profit. She’s also the biggest victim of marketing. But the biggest office sweetheart.

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