This is your bible: we have rounded up the five best marketing books of all time, that we personally believe should be in every business library (you’re welcome).
Some of these books are focused on the strategies and more data-driven tactics of marketing. Others include the timeless observations about human nature and group behavior, which form the basis for the art of marketing.
Consider this your bible. Written by two world experts on luxury branding, this book (now in its second edition) provides the most thorough blueprint for the effective management of luxury brands at the highest level. We at Havas Luxe reference it all the time. In fact, we referenced it tirelessly when penning our recent blockbuster blog post: Make Luxury Great Again (link to post).
By defining the differences between premium and luxury brands and products, analyzing the nature of true luxury brands and turning established marketing ‘rules’ upside down, The Luxury Strategy has established itself as the definitive work on the essence of a luxury brand strategy. It’s a must-read.
- Deluxe – How Luxury Lost its Luster – by Dana Thomas
We have obsessed over this book for years – and it is perhaps even more relevant today, ten years after it saw light for the first time. This is a hard-hitting behind-the-scenes look at the luxury fashion industry that dares to ask the question: Is luxury still the best that money can buy?
There was a time when luxury was available only to the rarefied and aristocratic world of old money and royalty. Luxury wasn’t simply a product, it was a lifestyle, one that denoted a history of tradition, superior quality and offered a pampered buying experience. Today’s luxury marketplace would be virtually unrecognizable to its founders. Dana Thomas, a journalist who has covered style and the luxury business for The Washington Post, Newsweek and The New York Times Magazine from Paris for the past fifteen years, digs deep into the dark side of the luxury industry to uncover all the secrets that the maisons have avoided revealing. In so doing, she cuts to the core of what luxury, and luxury marketing, truly entail.
- Small is the New Big – by Seth Godin
If you are not already subscribed to Seth Godin’s newsletter, do it right now. He’s as major as marketing gurus come, and as one of today’s most influential business thinkers, Seth Godin helps his army of fans stay focused, stay connected, and stay dissatisfied with the status quo. His books, blog posts, magazine articles, and speeches have inspired countless entrepreneurs, marketing people, innovators, and managers around the world. We could easily recommend all his books, but of them – this one in particular applies to Luxury Marketing, particularly because of the focus on “smallness” – a tailored, customizable, personal approach. You’ll enjoy all his other riffs, too.
- Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds – by Charles Mackay
Ultimately, marketing means understanding groups of people and how they think. While technology has changed over the decades, people haven’t, so it shouldn’t be all THAT surprising that in 1841, Charles Mackay captured the essence of group-think (see also “1984”, by George Orwell). Read this, and you’ll never be surprised by events like the Great Recession or the popularity of the Kardashians (yes, we have once again referenced the Kardashians in a post).
Best quote: “We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.”
- How to Win Friends and Influence People – by Dale Carnegie
The most successful leaders all have one thing in common: They’ve read How to Win Friends and Influence People. As a salesman at one point in his life, author Dale Carnegie made his sales territory the national leader for the firm he worked for. Carnegie eventually ended his sales career and taught public speaking, earning up to $500 every week — the equivalent of $11,800 today. Even Warren Buffet, one of the most successful investors of the 20th century, took Carnegie’s course at age 20.
Simply put, this is a must read for any marketer who wants to succeed not only in marketing and sales, but also in life.
Extra Credit – Email or comment below your own book selection by February 17th! The most interesting book suggestion will receive all five of the books mentioned in the post.