The 5 best marketing and business books – Christmas gifts for business owners

As a business owner it is a constant challenge to keep up-to-date and inspired to learn and try new things in business and marketing.
For Christmas I wanted to share my five best business and marketing books, which would make great stocking fillers for any business owner.
Some of the below books have been around a while but are still completely relevant and interesting summer reads.
small business marketingThis is an autobiography jam-packed with business ideas and inspiration. Learn where the Virgin mega-brand all started and how it continues to lead the way in marketing and business. 

This book reveals Sir Richard’s unique story, his personal philosophy on life, the Virgin brand and business. As a hugely successful international entrepreneur, adventurer and icon, and chairman of the Virgin Group, this book has something to interest everyone.

The book also describes the effect on the Virgin Group of 11 September, the rise of Virgin Blue, the flotation of Virgin Mobile, Sir Richard’s world record attempt with the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer and taking Virgin to the final frontier, as Virgin Galactic is poised for a new era of commercial space travel. 

Jan Carlzon, was CEO of SAS Airlines (1981-1994) and is credited for bringing the airline back from the brink of collapse. 

small business marketing Kylie Fennell

The airline went from losing $17 million a year to making a $54 million profit within a year.
A huge part of his success was his ‘Moments of Truth’ philosophy and focus on customer service quality.
Carlzon drove a message across his organisation that every ‘moment of truth’ or point of contact with every customer or stakeholder made a difference. The book focused on delegating away from management and giving front-line staff the authority and responsibility to make decisions so they could resolve any issues on the spot. He promoted a culture where employees regardless of their level were empowered to make decisions, if they could immediately solve a customer’s problem.
Carlzon accepted that by delegating decision-making down the chain, sometimes mistakes would be made occasionally, but these mistakes could be forgiven.
“Mistakes can usually be corrected later; the time that is lost in not making a decision can never be retrieved.”
The book also shows how the airline adapted to what was a reasonably new customer-driven economy.
Carlzon decided that SAS should cater to business travelers, who tend to be decidedly less price-conscious than tourists. Accordingly, he geared the line’s operations to the demands of a commercial market, emphasising such unique selling propositions as on-time departures, convenient schedules and comfortable seating.
Carlzon’s service-oriented plan paid off dramatically and provides some great insights.
Global marketer Martin Lindstrom, who has been on the front lines of the branding wars for more than 20 years, provides an insider’s look at how companies obscure the truth and manipulate our minds to persuade us to buy.
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He draws on all he has witnessed behind closed doors, exposing the full extent of the psychological tricks and traps that companies devise to win our hard-earned dollars.

Lindstrom reveals how advertisers and marketers intentionally target children at an alarmingly young age ­– starting when they are still in the womb!
He also talks about how marketers and retailers stoke the flames of public panic and capitalise on paranoia over global contagions, extreme weather events and food contamination scares.
Additionally the book highlights the first ever neuroscientific evidence proving how addicted we all are to our iPhones and our Blackberry’s (and the shocking reality of cell phone addiction – it can be harder to shake than addictions to drugs and alcohol).
There is much, much more to shock, intrigue and entertain you in this book. You should also be able to pick up some less insidious marketing tips to use yourself.
This is a must-read for anyone feeling a little bamboozled by what to do with online and social media marketing. 
small business marketing Kylie Fennell

A great refresher for anyone who has been wedded to old-school marketing and PR or anyone just venturing out.

It offers a step-by-step action plan for harnessing the power of modern marketing and PR to communicate with buyers directly, raise visibility and increase sales. It shows how large and small companies, nonprofits, and other organisations can leverage web-based content to get the right information to the right people for a fraction of the cost of big-budget campaigns.
It includes up-to-date information, examples, and case studies plus an examination of popular tools such as Infographics, photo-sharing using Pinterest and Instagram, as well as expanded information on social media such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.        
Ever wondered how a trend becomes a trend? This book explains the idea of a tipping point when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips and spreads like wildfire. 
small business marketing Kylie Fennell

It will change the way you think about selling products, communicating messages and changing behaviour.
The author describes how readers can apply the tipping point principle in their own lives and work. The book provides case studies on how a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate.
So I hope I have left you with some sources of inspiration for injecting some new life into your business and marketing efforts in 2014.

In the meantime, we wish you and your families a safe and Merry Christmas. Find out how you can boost your marketing efforts.

Kylie Fennell
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