The online advertising industry is changing so fast, that books could not be able to keep pace with it. Still, here are some titles that we recommend and the reasons why:
- Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy by Martin Lindstrom: further than describing how people are tempted to purchase goods using all forms of psychological and some subliminal ways, also shows some advertisers’ unsuspected dangers in wrong advertising and also how technology is sometimes used.
- Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Krug, Steve because when it comes to online advertising, first impressions count. Even though some examples are a little outdated, the theory is just as applicable now as it ever was. Recommended to anyone who’s into web related industries.
- Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead is split into 3 parts, the first two of which are the generalised theory of Sally’s understanding of what fascination is as a concept, and her interpretation of its 7 facets. The final part is effectively an action plan for putting the theory into practice in your own life. This book is useful to anyone who has an interest in what makes people tick, especially what makes groups of people tick.
- The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz. Considering our tendency to want to give customers extensive choices, this book explains why that may be counter productive.
- Truth, Lies, and Advertising: The Art of Account Planning by Jon Steel is a wonderful book about what may be – or clearly was at one point in time – the best agency in America. The emphasis was clear: the advertising industry needs to gain insight into human nature so that it can create ads that speak to their target and are perceived as being relevant. Steel’s book is more than a description of account planning. Yet, it is the best description of the way in which the process works that the profession has so far. In addition, the book is a wonderful tale of a time in an agency’s life when the right juxtaposition of talent, brains, raw energy and empowering clients came together. The feeling the reader receives is that the pages open before them have been written by someone who loves advertising. Those who know Steel – or have even briefly met him or heard him speak – know that to be true.
- Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching the World’s Most Powerful Consumers by Bridget Brennan should be compulsory reading for all men involved in selling products and services to women, especially when they work in a male-dominated environment.
- Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive by Noah J. Goldstein Ph.D. and Steve J. Martin provides, as the subtitle indicates, 50 distinct examples, explanations or techniques to help you become more persuasive. They present the general principles of persuasion and discuss an abundance of specific, detailed uses. The authors advocate the idea that you can and should test persuasive strategies. A useful book for anyone engaged in persuasion, including executives, marketers, trainers and salespeople.
- The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads by Tim Wu points out exactly what every big brand, major corporation, and technology manufacturer are after: our attention. Attention is the driving force behind every single advertising campaign and mobile device launch, app store improvement, and operating system update. Without consumer attention, without us continuing to refresh, check, check again, and rack up another page view or time-on-screen data point, many of the world’s largest businesses would no longer survive.
- Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday is a book about the US and it is necessary to explain that in some respects Britain is very different, especially given the influence of the BBC and more widely TV channels with their own active social media presences still driven by a requirement of impartiality. The book clearly shows how the USA media works, its strengths and weaknesses. It also explains how what we hear, see and read is chosen and composed. Some of Holiday’s tactics have unsurprisingly attracted much controversy since he has confessed his sins – such as the faking of documents to “leak” under false names to bloggers in order to get them speculating about a product or company.
- Perfect Pitch: The Art of Selling Ideas and Winning New Business (Adweek Books) by Jon Steel’s mission is simple: to save the world from dreadful presentations. With an extraordinary breadth of both positive and negative examples, Steel demolishes all the worst of pitches both great and small and uncovers the basis of world-class presentations. This book is primarily written for the inspirational end of top advertising pitches. As well as giving all the background thinking, Steel takes us right through a presentation development process.This book will help you transform every presentation you’re going to make for the rest of your life.
Anyway, depending on just a book won’t be enough to capture all changing and evolving industry. In addition, you should absolutely keep yourself updated through:
- Reading blogs;
- Checking all Product updates from the largest media owners
- Spending some time (and investing a bit of your own money) on AdSense, AdWords, Google Analytics and Facebook Ads to see how they work and how people respond;
- Studying the ads that work well, figuring out why they work, what’s compelling about them, what makes them shareable, etc.
- Networking with colleagues, sharing strategies with other people doing the same thing;
- Applying for Trainee/Apprentice online advertising jobs for like most complicated, changing things, you’ll learn by doing, making mistakes and developing an intuition. Go work for someone who is doing it well, no matter how lowly the entry-level position. If you’re intent on learning and work hard, you will move up quickly, especially if you’re at a smaller company. Running actual ads, you’ll truly get an understanding of what works and does not work.
If you think your skills are very good already, apply for Media Planning jobs or Media Sales jobs in the Sector you’d love most!