David Deutsch, a top copywriter, once said that, instead of reading 100 books on marketing, he wished he’d read 10 books 10 times each.
That got me thinking. I’m often asked to recommend marketing books, so here are 5 I think are worth reading multiple times:
Ogilvy On Advertising” – David Ogilvy
There’s a quote on the back of this book by some bloke called “Steve Gibson” who says:
“Simply one of the best books on advertising ever written. If you’re in business, you need to read this book”.
I think this “Gibson” person is right.
By applying direct marketing principles to big business general advertising, Ogilvy became the greatest ad man of his generation and probably the greatest ad man of the last 50 years.
Everything he says in this book is gold.
Scientific Advertising” – Claude Hopkins
This book is the daddy of them all. It’s the book that David Ogilvy said “changed the course of my life.”
Although the book is now 86 years old, everything in it is still true today.
Note: you can get it free online as it’s now in the public domain. However, I think it’s worth coughing up a few quid to get the paper copy as you’ll be far more likely to read it than read a pdf.
Tested Advertising Methods” - John Caples
According to Gary Bencivenga – a world class copywriter who worked for David Ogilvy:
Ogilvy said that he and Rosser Reeves, who were two of the greatest copywriters in general advertising of the 20th century, learned more from John Caples than anyone else. More people know David Ogilvy than Rosser Reeves today because of his books. But both Ogilvy and Reeves said that they learned more from John Caples than anyone else and they shamelessly stole from him and most of what they espoused came indirectly or directly from him.”
Tested Advertising Methods” is the summary of the most important lessons Caples learned from thousands of split-tests.
In it, Caples wrote:
I have seen one advertisement actually sell, not twice as much, not three times as much, but 19 ½ times as much as another. Both advertisements occupied the same space. Both were run in the same publication. Both had photographic illustrations. Both had carefully written copy. The difference was that one used the right appeal and the other used the wrong appeal.”
And he then explained which types of appeal are proven to be the most effective.
The Adweek Copywriting Handbook” - Joe Sugarman
Joe Sugarman is one of the most successful copywriters of all time, making millions from selling his own products – like the famous “BluBlocker” sunglasses – with space ads in newspapers and magazines.
This book explains his approach to writing copy – including the 31 emotional triggers that cause people to respond to ads – and is, in my opinion, the best book for learning newspaper advertising.
(and most of these techniques are ideally suited to website copywriting)
How to Sell Anything to Anybody - Joe Girard
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, car salesman Joe Girard was the “World’s Greatest Salesman”. But it wasn’t selling that made him the best, it was his marketing.
He had a number of marketing systems that brought in huge numbers of prospects with the minimum effort. That left him free to close those deals and get into the record books.
He shares all this information in this book.
(For example, in Chapter 11, he describes a referral system that sold 550 cars in a single year)