I've written before about the need for marketing folks to always be studying, constantly learning their craft. Here are the top five books that marketers on your list will need to succeed in 2009.
Top 5 Gift Books For Marketers
1. Groundswell: Winning in a World of Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff - This is my pick for best marketing book of 2008. Li and Bernoff explain social media marketing with more analysis, data, and charts than any other book on this list. Every page is filled with nuggets of wisdom, but be warned: this is not a book for the uninitiated. Readers should have a basic understanding of marketing and online behavior to get the most out of this book.
Who should receive this book?: Hard-core marketers, social media junkies, small businesspeople who already "get" blogging and Twitter.
2. Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath - You may have read the Heath brother's monthly article in Fast Company magazine. Like their articles, this book is always thought provoking, drawing from research that crosses the boundary of marketing into psychology and sociology. There is a science to persuasion and a commonality in successful marketing campaigns. This book does a great job of explaining why and how you can replicate that success.
Who should receive this book?: Young creatives at a marketing or advertising firm, psychologists turned businesspeople, marketers who want to understand how to "go viral."
3. Join The Conversation: How to Engage Marketing-Weary Consumers with the Power of Community, Dialogue, and Partnership by Joseph Jaffe - Jaffe is one of the leading thinkers and proponents of new marketing. As a thought leader, it's no surprise that his book is chock full of insight. This book is intended not just to teach marketers the particular skills they need to thrive in this new environment, but also to change their very way of thinking. It's not quite as radical as that sounds - it is always pragmatic - but it is certainly convincing that the ways of marketing have indeed changed forever.
Who should receive this book?: College students considering a career in marketing, retired marketers looking for new thoughts and ideas, businesspeople in other departments who are curious about the changes they may see in their own marketing department in the future.
4. Secrets of Social Media Marketing: How to Use Online Conversations and Customer Communities to Turbo-Charge Your Business by Paul Gillin - Gillin says that the book is intended for the 90% of marketers who are not yet comfortable with social media marketing tools. As a member of the 10% who are, I would disagree. I got a lot out of this book. It's full of examples and great tips, but most importantly provides a complete overview of the social media world. My personal copy is marked up and dog-eared - a sure sign of a useful book.
Who should receive this book? Old-school marketers pessimistic about this "Web 2.0 stuff," work-from-home Moms building a new business, the I.T. guy you fight with whenever you want to include more functionality on your website.
5. Ogilvy On Advertising by David Ogilvy - Do you notice how much shorter this title is compared to the others? The book reads the very same way. Ogilvy, likely a master of the art before you were born, says what needs saying and nothing more. Though the book was published in 1983, the universal truths provided in the book stand the test of time. It pays to know where your industry came from, in order to really move it forward.
Who should receive this book? Idealistic young advertising staff, copywriters of any age, the agency tough-guy who needs to hear advice from the original Ad Man.
Only For The Hard-Core
It's a little tough to imagine, but if the marketing person on your list is the hardest of hard-core, they may like a MarketingSherpa report under the tree. They're a little pricey, but the amount of money saved by taking their advice makes it worth it.
My sincere hope is that you have friends and family to share the holidays with. And if you're able to afford gifts this season, I hope you consider the ones I mentioned above. They've truly helped me this year and I hope they do the same for the marketer on your list.
If this post was helpful, stumbles and re-tweets are like holiday gifts for me!
(Note: I am an affiliate with Amazon and MarketingSherpa, but I've read every page of the five books I listed and think they are absolutely worth purchasing. My commission is like, 3 cents anyway.)
(Image courtesy of Randy Son Of Robert via Flickr)