Although marketing operations is a relatively young term in the marketing lexicon, its principles and colorful history stretches back to the golden age of radio in the 1920s, when advertisers began researching their audience and targeting specific market segments with their ads. Today, it shows no sign of slowing down because marketers will always need to improve their campaigns and adapt quickly to shifting tastes and needs.
If you’re looking to learn more about marketing in general and marketing operations specifically, the following ten books should give you a solid understanding of the field.
10 Marketing Operations Books We Recommend
- Hacking Marketing: Agile Practices to Make Marketing Smarter, Faster, and More Innovative
Scott Brinker (2016)This is the latest book by Scott Brinker, the marketing technology thought leader behind the influential ChiefMartec.com blog. In his conversational writing style, he tackles the parallels between software development and marketing, walks you through the workflows and best practices behind Agile marketing, and lays out everyday tactics for managing the entire marketing process successfully.
- The Big Data-Driven Business: How to Use Big Data to Win Customers, Beat Competitors, and Boost Profits
Russell Glass & Sean Callahan (2014)This book, written by two LinkedIn marketing execs, tackles the relentless focus on big data and showcases real-world examples of companies like Google and Dell that successfully created corporate cultures focused on customers via the data they provide.There’s a lot of practical advice on how to harness big data to your company’s advantage — which is crucial for marketing operations to cater to customers’ tastes and needs.
- The Marketing Performance Blueprint: Strategies and Technologies to Build and Measure Business Success
Paul Roetzer (2014)Roetzer explains how to grow your organization using your unique content, plus a host of marketing automation tools that allow you to scale your efforts. He espouses the philosophy that things that can be measured can definitely be improved, hence his in-depth discussion on tracking, reporting, and KPIs. Overall, the book is full of actionable information that covers a wide range of marketing issues: from hiring and training your team, to using customer data to provide relevant customer experiences.
- Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth
Gabriel Weinberg & Justin Mares (2015)On the Wrike blog we’ve talked a lot about why startups fail, and this book posits that the main reason is not a lack of ideas, manpower, or capital. Rather, startups fail due to a lack of traction — how consistently you can grow your business and increase new users and customers. The book explains in detail how to go about gaining traction in each of the 19 channels (e.g. PR, SEM, SEO, offline ads, email marketing, offline events, affiliate programs and much, much more). A great addition to your arsenal of growth hacking tactics.
- Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising
Ryan Holiday (2014)Written by the marketing guru behind American Apparel’s rise to fame (or infamy), this book tackles today’s techniques for building buzz without a budget. There are loads of examples from online companies such as Instagram or Dropbox (none for more traditional businesses, however), and a lot of anecdotal advice. Don’t expect concrete tactics though, as this is more about giving readers inspiration to try out new ideas and less a step-by-step manual.
- Buyer Personas: How to Gain Insight into your Customer’s Expectations, Align your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business
Adele Revella (2015)How do you deliver relevant experiences to your customers if you don’t know who they are? This book tackles how to create buyer personas in order to better understand their pain points. Expect detailed advice for this research methodology: from conducting one-on-one interviews with customers, to analysis of their answers, to using these buyer personas in your day-to-day decision making.
- The Digital Marketer: Ten New Skills You Must Learn to Stay Relevant and Customer-Centric
Larry Weber & Lisa Leslie Henderson (2014)While it’s true that marketing is constantly in flux with new tools and practices, this book lists 10 skills that will help marketers deal with the changes and continue to build rewarding customer experiences. Those skills include: designing valuable customer experiences, finding actionable insight in big data & marketing analytics, and building worthwhile loyalty and digital coupon programs. All in all, this is a comprehensive introduction to digital marketing, and is essential reading for anyone wanting to learn marketing operations.
- The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!
Stoney deGeyter (2014)If you’re looking for a very hands-on, tactical guide to doing everything the proper way, this book is it. But it goes one step further than simply listing things to do; it also explains why you need to do it, and how. The book tackles everything from choosing a domain name to building an About Us page, even best practices for online advertising and email marketing. It’s a perfect read for new and intermediate digital marketers.
- The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly
by David Meerman Scott (Updated 2015)This is the 5th edition of the classic book that first hit shelves back in 2007, and it remains as chock-full of best practices and real-world examples as ever. Learn how successful companies use content and inbound marketing tactics to great success. The updated sections tackle some of the latest technologies that have since entered the marketing toolkit, (e.g. Snapchat) as well as an entire chapter on sales & service.
- Inbound Marketing, Revised and Updated: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online
Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah (2014)This is an updated version of the original 2009 book written by the two founders of HubSpot, and the originators of the term “inbound marketing.” This remains an effective playbook for attracting and engaging online visitors as well as social media fans. Its been updated with SEO tactics and the latest tools for social media marketing, but it retains the core strategies for getting found online and converting web visitors into customers. Equal parts inspiring and actionable, this is a great one for your shelf.
- [BONUS] Ebook: 7 Steps to Developing an Agile Marketing Team
Wrike (2015)Here’s a bonus ebook for you! It’s a short read that explains how marketers can increase their team’s productivity, responsiveness, and speed by turning to Agile methods, and includes 7 strategies for getting your team to adopt an Agile process and mindset.
- [BONUS] Report: How Marketers Get Things Done: The State of Agile Marketing in 2016
Wrike (2016)Our latest report explores the challenges marketers are facing today and whether Agile is something they use to tackle this chaos. We surveyed 800 marketers about their work management, use of digital tools, and their collaborative relationship with other departments. And the results might surprise you.
What Marketing Operations Books Do You Suggest?
Your turn now: what are your favorite books on marketing operations or marketing in general? Hit the comments and tell us.