dvertising is the promotion of goods, services, or ideas by various means, such as social media, print, television, and radio. It is a marketing strategy that uses psychological research to analyze consumer behavior and it targets potential customers. While marketers have been applying advertising strategies since the late 1800s, the first instance of what we know as modern advertising can be traced back to 1886. Today’s marketing landscape has changed drastically from the one-dimensional solutions of yesterday. In this article, you will find the best books on advertising strategy for those who want to enter this field.
Best Books on Advertising Strategy: THE LIST
1. Ogilvy on Advertising | By David Ogilvy
A candid and indispensable primer on all aspects of advertising from the man Time has called “the most sought after wizard in the business.”
Told with brutal candor and prodigal generosity, David Ogilvy reveals:
• How to get a job in advertising
• How to choose an agency for your product
• The secrets behind advertising that works
• How to write successful copy—and get people to read it
• Eighteen miracles of research
• What advertising can do for charities
And much, much more.
2. Contagious | By Jonah Berger
Why do certain products and ideas go viral? Dynamic young Wharton professor Jonah Berger draws on his research to explain the six steps that make products or ideas contagious.
Why do some products get more word of mouth than others? Why does some online content go viral? Word of mouth makes products, ideas, and behaviors catch on. It’s more influential than advertising and far more effective.
Can you create word of mouth for your product or idea? According to Berger, you can. Whether you operate a neighborhood restaurant, a corporation with hundreds of employees, or are running for a local office for the first time, the steps that can help your product or idea become viral are the same.
Contagious is filled with fascinating information drawn from Berger’s research. You will be surprised to learn, for example, just how little word of mouth is generated online versus elsewhere. Already praised by Dan Ariely and Dan Gilbert, and sold in nine countries, this book is a must-listen for people who want their projects and ideas to succeed.
3. This is Marketing | By Seth Godin
Number-one Wall Street Journal best-seller.
Instant New York Times best-seller.
A game-changing approach to marketing, sales, and advertising.
Seth Godin has taught and inspired millions of entrepreneurs, marketers, leaders, and fans from all walks of life, via his blog, online courses, lectures, and best-selling books. He is the inventor of countless ideas and phrases that have made their way into mainstream business language, from Permission Marketing to Purple Cow to Tribes to The Dip.
Now, for the first time, Godin offers the core of his marketing wisdom in one compact, accessible, and timeless package. This Is Marketing shows you how to do work you’re proud of, whether you’re a tech start-up founder, a small-business owner, or part of a large corporation.
Great marketers don’t use consumers to solve their company’s problems; they use marketing to solve other people’s problems. Their tactics rely on empathy, connection, and emotional labor instead of attention-stealing ads and spammy email funnels.
No matter what your product or service, this audiobook will teach you how to reframe how it’s presented to the world, in order to meaningfully connect with the people who want it. Seth employs his signature blend of insight, observation, and memorable examples to teach you:
- How to build trust and permission with your target market.
- The art of positioning – deciding not only who it’s for, but who it’s not for.
- Why the best way to achieve your marketing goals is to help others become who they want to be.
- Why the old approaches to advertising and branding no longer work.
- The surprising role of tension in any decision to buy (or not).
- How marketing is at its core about the stories we tell ourselves about our social status.
You can do work that matters for people who care. This audiobook shows you the way.
4. Confessions of an Advertising Man | By David Ogilvy
5. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This | By Luke Sullivan
The classic guide to creating great advertising now covers all media: Digital, social, and traditional.
Hey Whipple, Squeeze This has helped generations of young creatives make their mark in the field. From starting out and getting work, to building successful campaigns, you gain a real-world perspective on what it means to be great in a fast-moving, sometimes harsh industry. You’ll learn how to tell brand stories and create brand experiences online and in traditional media outlets, and you’ll learn more about the value of authenticity, simplicity, storytelling, and conflict.
Advertising is in the midst of a massive upheaval, and while creativity is still king, it’s not nearly enough. This audiobook is an essential resource for advertising professionals who need up-to-date digital skills to reach the modern consumer.
- Turn great ideas into successful campaigns
- Work effectively in all media channels
- Avoid the kill shots that will sink any campaign
- Protect your work
- Succeed without selling out
Today’s consumer has seen it all, and they’re less likely than ever to even notice your masterpiece of art and copy, let alone internalize it. Your job is to craft a piece that rises out of the noise to make an impact. Hey Whipple, Squeeze This provides the knowledge to create impressive, compelling work.
6. Building a StoreBrand | By Donald Miller
New York Times best-selling author Donald Miller uses the seven universal elements of powerful stories to teach listeners how to dramatically improve how they connect with customers and grow their businesses.
Donald Miller’s StoryBrand process is a proven solution to the struggle business leaders face when talking about their businesses. This revolutionary method for connecting with customers provides listeners with the ultimate competitive advantage, revealing the secret for helping their customers understand the compelling benefits of using their products, ideas, or services. Building a StoryBrand does this by teaching listeners the seven universal story points all humans respond to, the real reason customers make purchases, how to simplify a brand message so people understand it, and how to create the most effective messaging for websites, brochures, and social media.
Whether you are the marketing director of a multibillion-dollar company, the owner of a small business, a politician running for office, or the lead singer of a rock band, Building a StoryBrand will forever transform the way you talk about who you are, what you do, and the unique value you bring to your customers.
7. Scientific Advertising | By Claude Hopkins
Understand and use the concepts of successful advertising
Whether you are considering a career in advertising or trying to find the best way to market your product, start with Hopkins and then move on to the rest.
In this powerful book he explains the process to get (and measure) results from your advertising.
Claude Hopkins wrote ‘Scientific Advertising’ in 1923, but his insight into consumer behavior still holds. The aim was to explain the rules of advertising and what makes consumers buy so that advertising returns would become a certainty and not a guess. Learn how to use his techniques to write adverts that sell with certainty.
Hopkins clearly shows how to write copy, provides methods for testing it, and shows how evidence-based advertising gets results in a measurable and cost-effective way.
A must-read if you are in business, sales, or advertising. Hopkins shows what makes us buy and how you can make it happen.
This edition also includes examples of adverts produced by Claude Hopkins throughout his career.
Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times. It changed the course of my life. David Ogilvy
Within this book, Hopkins shows a variety of tested techniques which he had used through his successful career in advertising, including:
- How advertising laws are established – What the professionals in advertising already know and how we can use this knowledge to develop better ads.
- Just salesmanship – What is advertising and how is it best used?
- Offer service – The best ways to offer service to increase sales.
- Mail order advertising – What it teaches us and how we can apply it to our own adverts.
- Headlines -A lot of headlines get a poor response in email marketing, websites, and adverts. Learn how to increase your response rate.
- Psychology – Use Hopkins experience to direct people to buy and use your product.
- Being specific – Are you being specific enough in your advertising? Hopkins shows that by using specific facts you can increase sales and outperform your competitors.
- Tell your full story – How telling your story is important and why some advertisers make the mistake of missing out on this.
- Art in advertising – Should we use bespoke artwork or tried and tested visuals?
- Things too costly – What strategies are too costly to attempt in advertising.
- Information – How to give the consumer the best information to help them buy.
- Strategy – Rules for directing a campaign.
- Use of samples – How getting samples into people’s hands can increase sales.
- Getting distribution – Hopkins lays out how to get national distribution by starting small.
- Test campaigns – How to test different campaigns on the same audience.
- Leaning on dealers – Ways to get dealers to help your campaign
- Individuality – Set yourself apart from competitors and what your tone should be.
- Negative advertising – Will it helps your sales?
- Letter writing – Hopkins shows how to write a sales letter.
- A name that helps – How does a product name impact sales?
- Good business – See how good business impacts consumer behavior.
Excerpts from the book
The only purpose of advertising is to make sales. It is profitable or unprofitable according to its actual sales.
I never ask people to buy. The ads all offer service, perhaps a free sample. They sound altruistic. But they get a reading and action. No selfish appeal can do that.
I set down these findings solely for the purpose of aiding others to start far up the heights I scaled.
8. Truth, Lies, and Advertising | By Jon Steel
“Account planning exists for the sole purpose of creating advertising that truly connects with consumers. While many in the industry are still dissecting consumer behavior, extrapolating demographic trends, developing complex behavioral models, and measuring Pavlovian salivary responses, Steel advocates an approach to consumer research that is based on simplicity, common sense, and creativity–an approach that gains access to consumers’ hearts and minds, develops ongoing relationships with them, and, most important, embraces them as partners in the process of developing and advertising.
A witty, erudite raconteur and teacher, Steel describes how successful account planners work in partnership with clients, consumers, and agency creatives. He criticizes research practices that, far from creating relationships, drive a wedge between agencies and the people they aim to persuade; he suggests new ways of approaching research to cut through the BS and get people to show their true selves; and he shows how the right research, when translated into a motivating and inspiring brief, can be the catalyst for great creative ideas. He draws upon his own experiences and those of colleagues in the United States and abroad to illustrate those points, and includes examples of some of the most successful campaigns in recent years, including Polaroid, Norwegian Cruise Line, Porsche, Isuzu, “got milk?” and others.
The message of this book is that well-thought-out account planning results in better, more effective marketing and advertising for both agencies and clients. And also makes an evening in front of the television easier to bear for the population at large.”
9. The Advertising Concept Book | By Pete Barry
The classic guide to creative ideas, strategies, and campaigns in advertising, now in a revised and updated third edition
In creative advertising, no amount of glossy presentation will improve a bad idea. That’s why this book is dedicated to the first and most important lesson: concept.
Structured to provide both a complete course on advertising and a quick reference on specific industry topics, it covers every aspect of the business, from how to write copy and learn the creative process to how agencies work and the different strategies used for all types of media. This edition has been updated to include expanded chapters on interactive advertising and integrative advertising, a new chapter on branded social media, and fifty specially drawn new roughs of key campaigns.
Pete Barry outlines simple but fundamental rules about how to “push” an ad to turn it into something exceptional, while exercises throughout help readers assess their own work and that of others. Fifty years’ worth of international, award-winning ad campaigns―in the form of over 450 “roughs” specially produced by the author, fifty of which are new to this edition―also reinforce the book’s core lesson: that a great idea will last forever.
10. Blue Ocean Strategy | By W. Chan Kim
In this perennial bestseller, embraced by organizations and industries worldwide, globally preeminent management thinkers W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne challenge everything you thought you knew about the requirements for strategic success. Recognized as one of the most iconic and impactful strategy books ever written, Blue Ocean Strategy, now updated with fresh content from the authors, argues that cutthroat competition results in nothing but a bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool. Based on a study of 150 strategic moves (spanning more than 100 years across 30 industries), the authors argue that lasting success comes not from battling competitors but from creating “blue oceans” – untapped new market spaces ripe for growth.
Blue Ocean Strategy presents a systematic approach to making the competition irrelevant and outlines principles and tools any organization can use to create and capture its own blue oceans. This expanded edition includes a new preface by the authors: “Help! My Ocean Is Turning Red”; updates on all cases and examples in the book; and two new chapters and an expanded third one – “Alignment, Renewal, and Red Ocean Traps” – that address some of the most pressing questions listeners and readers have asked over the years
11.The 1-Page Marketing Plan | By Allan Dib
Warning: do not listen to this book if you hate money.
To build a successful business, you need to stop doing random acts of marketing and start following a reliable plan for rapid business growth. Traditionally, creating a marketing plan has been a difficult and time-consuming process, which is why it often doesn’t get done.
In The 1-Page Marketing Plan, serial entrepreneur and rebellious marketer Allan Dib reveals a marketing implementation breakthrough that makes creating a marketing plan simple and fast. It’s literally a single page, divided up into nine squares. With it, you’ll be able to map out your own sophisticated marketing plan and go from zero to marketing hero.
Whether you’re just starting out or are an experienced entrepreneur, this book is the easiest and fastest way to create a marketing plan that will propel your business growth.
In this groundbreaking new book you’ll discover:
- How to get new customers, clients, or patients and how to make more profit from existing ones
- Why “big business” style marketing could kill your business and strategies that actually work for small and medium-sized businesses
- How to close sales without being pushy, needy, or obnoxious while turning the tables and having prospects begging you to take their money
- A simple step-by-step process for creating your own personalized marketing plan that is literally one page
- How to annihilate competitors and make yourself the only logical choice
- How to get amazing results on a small budget using the secrets of direct response marketing
- How to charge high prices for your products and services and have customers actually thank you for it
12. Made to Stick | By Chip Heath
Mark Twain once observed, “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.” His observation rings true: Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus public-health scare circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas (business people, teachers, politicians, journalists, and others) struggle to make their ideas “stick”.
Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brother’s Heath reveals the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the “human scale principle”, using the “Velcro Theory of Memory”, and creating “curiosity gaps”.
In this indispensable guide, we discover that sticky messages of all kinds (from the infamous “kidney theft ring” hoax to a coach’s lessons on sportsmanship, to a new-product vision at Sony) draw their power from the same six traits.
Made to Stick is a book that will transform the way you communicate ideas. It includes a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures), such as the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass full of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers, the charities who make use of “the Mother Teresa Effect”, and the elementary school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice. Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.
13. The Boron Letters | By Gary Halbert
A series of letters by history’s greatest copywriter Gary C. Halbert, explaining insider tactics and sage wisdom to his youngest son Bond. Once only available as part of a paid monthly premium, The Boron Letters are unique in the marketing universe and now they are a bona fide cult classic among direct response marketers and copywriters around the world. The letters inside are written from a father to a son, in a loving way that goes far beyond a mere sales book or fancy “boardroom” advertising advice… It’s more than a Master’s Degree in selling & persuasion…it’s hands-down the best SPECIFIC and ACTIONABLE training on how to convince people to buy your products or services than I have ever read. The Boron Letters contain knowledge well beyond selling. The letters also explain how to navigate life’s hurdles. This marketing classic is personal and easily digestible. Plus… immediately after reading the first chapters, you can go out and make money and a real, noticeable difference in your marketplace. There are very few successful direct response marketers (online or off) who don’t owe something to Gary Halbert…and for many of them, The Boron Letters is the crown jewel in their collection. Copywriters and marketers read and re-read The Boron Letters over and over again for a reason. These strategies, secrets, and tips are going to be relevant 5, 10, even 100 years from now because they deal honestly with the part of human psychology which never changes, how to convince and convert folks into buyers. Bottom line? Read the first chapter. Get into the flow of Gary’s mind. Then read the second. I dare you to NOT finish the entire darn thing. After you put a few of the lessons into practice, you too will find yourself reading The Boron Letters again and again like so many of today’s top marketers. If you don’t already have your copy get it now. I promise you won’t regret it. My best, Lawton Chiles
14. Reality in Advertising | By Rosser Reeves
Rarely has a book about advertising created such a commotion as this brilliant account of the principles of successful advertising. Published in 1961, Reality in Advertising was listed for weeks on the general best-seller lists and is today acknowledged to be advertising’s greatest classic. It has been translated into twelve languages-French, Japanese, Spanish, Dutch, German, Italian, Portuguese, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Hebrew-and has been published in twenty-one separate editions in fifteen countries. Leading business executives, and the advertising cognoscenti, hail it as “the best book for professionals that have ever come out of Madison Avenue.” (For typical comments see back of the jacket.) Rosser Reeves says: “The book attempts to formulate certain theories of advertising, many quite new, and all based on 30 years of intensive research.” These theories, whose value has been proved in the marketplace, all revolve around the central concept that success in selling a product is the key criterion of advertising. In the course of explaining his own hard-headed approach, Mr. Reeves shows why the ad campaigns for many products are just so much money poured down the drain. He has some devastating things to say about advertising’s misguided men: the “aesthetes” and the “puffers” who put art and technique ahead of the client’s sales; and he punctures many of the misguided philosophies which lower the efficiency of advertising, rather than raising it. But even more important is the thoroughness and clarity with which he explains many of the mysteries of how to write advertising that produces these sales. Here, in short, is a concise, forcefully written guide that has been called “a ‘Rosetta Stone’ for the advertising business”- an essential book for anyone who works in advertising, or uses advertising extensively. It is today required reading in hundreds of great corporations and many of the world’s leading business schools.
15. The Art of Client Service | By Robert Solomon
A practical guide for providing exceptional client service
Most advertising and marketing people would claim great client service is an elusive, ephemeral pursuit, not easily characterized by a precise skill set or inventory of responsibilities; this book and its author argue otherwise, claiming there are definable, actionable methods to the role, and provide guidance designed to achieve more effective work.
Written by one of the industry’s most knowledgeable client services executives, the book begins with a definition, then follows a path from an initial new business win to the beginning, building, losing, then regaining trust with clients.
It is a powerful source of counsel for those new to the business, for industry veterans who want to refresh or validate what they know, and for anyone in the middle of the journey to get better at what they do.
16. Advertising Strategy | By Tom Altstiel
Advertising Creative, Sixth Edition gets right to the point of advertising by stressing key principles and practical information students and working professionals can use. Drawing on personal experience as award-winning experts in creative advertising, this new edition offers real-world insights on cutting-edge topics, including global, social media, business-to-business, in-house, and small agency advertising. In the new edition, authors Tom Altstiel, Jean Grow, Dan Augustine, and Joanna Jenkins take a deeper dive into the exploration of digital technology and its implications for the industry, as they expose the pervasive changes experienced across global advertising landscape. Their most important revelation of all is the identification of the three qualities that will define the future leaders of this industry: Be a risk-taker. Understand technology. Live for ideas. The latest edition addresses some of the key issues impacting our industry today, such as diversity in the workplace, international advertising, and design in the digital age.
17. Purple Cow | By Seth Godin
The cult classic that revolutionized marketing by teaching businesses that you’re either remarkable or invisible.
Few authors have had the kind of lasting impact and global reach that Seth Godin has had. In a series of now-classic books that have been translated into 36 languages and reached millions of listeners around the world, he has taught generations of readers how to make remarkable products and spread powerful ideas.
In Purple Cow, first published in 2003 and revised and expanded in 2009, Godin launched a movement to make truly remarkable products that are worth marketing in the first place. Through stories about companies like Starbucks, JetBlue, Krispy Kreme, and Apple, coupled with his signature provocative style, he inspires readers to rethink what their marketing is really saying about their product. In a world that grows noisier by the day, Godin’s challenge has never been more relevant to writers, marketers, advertisers, entrepreneurs, makers, product managers, and anyone else who has something to share with the world.
18. Buylogy | By Martin Lindstrom
Based on the single largest neuromarketing study ever conducted, Buyology reveals surprising truths about what attracts our attention and captures our dollars. Among the long-held assumptions and myths Buyology confronts:
- Sex doesn’t sell – people in skimpy clothing and provocative poses don’t persuade us to buy products.
- Despite government bans, subliminal advertising is ubiquitous – from bars to supermarkets to highway billboards.
- Color can be so iconic that the sight of the robin’s egg blue of a certain famous jewelry brand significantly raises women’s heart rates.
- Companies shamelessly borrow from religion and ritual – like the ritual, made up by a bored American bartender, of drinking a Corona with a lime – to seduce our interest.
- “Cool” brands, like iPods, trigger our mating instincts. The fact is, so much of what we thought we knew about why we buy is wrong. Drawing on a three-year, 7 million dollar, cutting-edge brain scan study of over 2000 people from around the world, marketing guru Martin Lindstrom’s revelations will captivate anyone who’s been seduced – or turned off – by marketer’s relentless efforts to win our loyalty, our money, and our minds.
Packed with entertaining stories about how we respond to such well-known products and companies as Marlboro, Calvin Klein, Ford, and American Idol, Buyology is a fascinating tour into the mind of today’s consumers.
19. They Ask Your Answer | by Marcus Sheridan
In today’s digital age, the traditional sales funnel-marketing at the top, sales in the middle, customer service at the bottom – is no longer effective. To be successful, businesses must obsess over the questions, concerns, and problems their buyers have, and address them as honestly and as thoroughly as possible. Every day, buyers turn to search engines to ask billions of questions. Having the answers they need can attract thousands of potential buyers to your company – but only if your content strategy puts your answers at the top of those search results. It’s a simple and powerful equation that produces growth and success: They Ask, You Answer.
Using these principles, author Marcus Sheridan led his struggling pool company from the bleak depths of the housing crash of 2008 to become one of the largest pool installers in the United States. Discover how his proven strategy can work for your business and master the principles of inbound and content marketing that have empowered thousands of companies to achieve exceptional growth.
They Ask, You Answer is a straightforward guide filled with practical tactics and insights for transforming your marketing strategy. This new edition has been fully revised and updated to reflect the evolution of content marketing and the increasing demands of today’s internet-savvy buyers.
Final Thoughts on the Best Books on Advertising Strategy
Advertising Strategy is a step-by-step guide to developing successful marketing campaigns. It will teach you how to get the most out of your advertising budget, how to set goals, produce an integrated campaign, choose the right media channels, and much more.
Do you see a book that you think should be on the list? Let us know your feedback here.
Meet Maurice, a staff editor at Bigger Investing. He’s an accomplished entrepreneur who owns multiple successful websites and a thriving merch shop. When he’s not busy with work, Maurice indulges in his passion for kayaking, climbing, and his family. As a savvy investor, Maurice loves putting his money to work and seeking out new opportunities. With his expertise and passion for finance, he’s dedicated to helping readers achieve their financial goals through Bigger Investing.