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January 28, 2016

Best-Of-The-Best Marketing Ebooks of 2015

by Tom De Baere

best marketing ebooks 2015Marketing is changing rapidly. Some say it has changed more in the last 5 years than it did in the last 500 years.

Responsibilities of CMO’s are also increasing due to the shift in buyer behavior and the fast changing world of marketing technology.

We may very well be entering a golden age of marketing, but this is not coming without some cost.

That cost is visible as a whole new learning curve for marketers, who are starting to have to be more and more technical. And on the other side you have technical people, who are having to learn more marketing.

Modern marketing leaders, or aspiring modern marketers must learn to master the discipline of lifelong-learning by continuously reading, studying and experimenting in an ever expanding field of marketing expertise.

Today, like I did in 2014, I want to provide you with a selection of the best marketing ebooks that have been created in 2015. These marketing ebooks are part of my way of lifelong learning, and I want to share some of the best that I found in 2015 with you.

(if you are not interested in the little personal story that follow, just scroll down to find the list of best marketing ebooks of 2015 !)

My year of learning in 2015

best ebooks 2015 - year of learning

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post on how I upgraded myself to become a modern marketer. Ever since I kept reading books, daily reading of multiple blog posts, and continuously following and interacting on social media.

It has become a new way of life. Although this constant self-study, and a push to seek new insights, takes a lot of energy, it has given me in return an entirely new life. It has given me the knowledge to consult some of the largest companies in Belgium, and it allowed me to start two successful companies in only a few years.

Remaining on top of evolutions is not easy, I have to admit. The field of marketing is expanding into many directions, ranging from big data, analytics, marketing technology, digital transformation, social selling, customer experience, context marketing, account based marketing, real-time personalization, content marketing, employee advocacy, and so on. But if you are passionate about what you do, things are much easier.

If I had to evaluate the last couple of years, I see them as 2 years with big contrasts:

  • there have been setbacks, and there has been a constant worrying on wether I am making the right decisions, and balancing work and family.
  • on the other hand, I has been a rollercoaster of customer success, lots of new and great people in my network, intellectual satisfaction, knowledge enrichment, and financial succes.

I consider myself very fortunate that things have gone this way, because the net-result is overwhelmingly positive.

And do you know what is the most important thing of all? The most important thing to me is that I feel so much better on top of things, which makes me more confident towards the future.

And like I did in 2014, also in 2015 a wealth of new ebook and blogs have given me the opportunity to grow and stay informed.

To all those individuals and companies that have given me this content in 2015: thank you!

The best Marketing Ebooks of 2015

My blog is my little space on the internet. It is where I pay my dues towards the content sharing economy. In this blog post I want to share some of the best marketing ebooks I have found in 2015.

Each and every piece is really useful, practical, visual, and something you want to save on your PC.

I could have provided you with the direct links to the PDFs. But I have not done that. Instead I have provided you with links to landing pages where you can download the materials. In some cases this will require you to leave your contact details to the authors of the content. I think that is the least you could do in return for their content.

1. What is code?

best marketing ebooks 2015 - what is code

In a whopping 38.000 words, Paul Ford explains to marketers in layman’s terms everything you need to know about computers, code, programming languages, apps, and all of that in a beautiful piece of modern long-form all with dynamic content features, animations, and graphics.

The more the buying process becomes online and digital, the more is marketing shifting to IT, and in return IT is shifting to marketing.

Marketing managers, decision makers, and entrepreneurs should understand how technology and software actually works.

It’s a very long read, but just go ahead: scroll through it, read bits-n-pieces, and get yourself in that whole new world (Strictly seen this is not an ebook. But I think it deserves a spot in this list, no matter what format it is in).

If you don’t have the time to go through it, Business Insider made a nice summary for your convenience. But that’s limited. What you want is go and read the whole thing !


2. Technical Marketing is the price of admission

best marketing ebooks 2015 - technical marketing

Somewhat related to this massive long read from Paul Ford, is a great slideshare from Michael Kind from @iPullRank on the same subject, but easier to digest and more tuned towards the world of marketers.

Although (again) strictly seen not an ebook, I also think it deserves a spot in this list. It’s a talk that Michael gave at Hubspot’s Inbound 2015 event about how technical skills are no longer optional for marketers.

This is what he talks about:

  • sense-making on the current state of the internet;
  • motivation for why you need technical marketing expertise in your team;
  • what a T-shaped marketer actually is;
  • a truckload of terms, tools and platforms
  • an interesting view on the modern marketing process


3. The CMO Solution Guide for Building a Modern Marketing Organization

best marketing ebooks - building modern marketing organizationsOracle has gone through the effort of interviewing 20 progressive CMOs and senior digital marketing executives about the changes they have been making to build more effective marketing teams.

There is no “modern marketing” organizational model that fits every company universally. Since the structure of your organization follows your strategy, and since every company’s strategy is unique, you might conclude that every marketing organization is structured and staffed to fit its specific context.

In a way that’s true, but as the paper reveals, four key themes surface which informed the organizational decisions that these CMO’s have made: skills, alignment, agility and accountability.

From a content marketing perspective this is a perfect example from Oracle on how to draw-in decision makers on subjects that matter to them.


4. Designing a Marketing Organization for the Digital Age

best marketing ebooks 2015 - marketing organizationMarketo, a vendor of marketing automation software, has worked with Harvard Business Review to analyze the shift to an era of engagement marketing, and what it means for the organization of the future.

Although the whitepaper (nope, sorry, this one is not an ebook, arghh, damn, I should have given this blog post a different title) provides less clear and practical models, it does provide the necessary sense-making and eyeopening for leaders to start:

  • merging the IT and marketing mindsets;
  • forge a link between marketing and sales;
  • connect with customer service to close the loop with customers;
  • changing the talent mix;
  • and finally a glimpse into the future (don’t we all want to know what the future brings ? ;-)).

Here’s the link to the landing page where you can download the ebook…


5. The rise of the Employee Marketer

More and more companies are empowering their employees to act as marketers on social media. Why? It is a tactic that cuts through the clutter, and uses the trust between employees and their social network to share marketing messages, to increase engagement, and to drive sales. Typically, this type of marketing is called “employee advocacy” marketing.

As the internet, the amount of content, and brands that shout for attention are all adding to the enormous amount of noise that is generated towards customers, employees can provide the direct and clear voice to customers.

In this ebook you get answers to questions like:

  • What is employee advocacy and how can it help my company?
  • What challenges do companies face on social media?
  • How does employee marketing solve those challenges?
  • How do I turn my employees into powerful brand advocates?
  • How do I get started with employee advocacy?
  • What features should I look for in an advocacy solution?

But the ebook contains more than answers. It also contains checklists, worksheets, and finishes with a nice touch of content marketing designed to frame your mind around employee advocacy technology platforms ;-).

Here’s the link to the landing page to get the ebook.

(ah, about time, finally an ebook which is actually an ebook and not a long-read or a whitepaper)

6. Data Driven Strategies for Writing Effective Titles & Headlines

best marketing ebooks 2015 - effective titles and headlinesFrom two established leaders in the space, Hubspot and Outbrain, we now have an ebook that is a bit more practical on a subject that is so under-valued, under-understood (is that even English ?) and under-used by marketers: Headlines.

This guide contains detailled data analysis to help you gain insights on what makes content successful in both paid and organic distribution and amplification. Specifically, they looked at at how headlines affect reader behavior in the context of each of these three goals.

It has best practices and insight on how headlines influence:

  • traffic,
  • click-through rate (CTR),
  • engagement,
  • conversions,
  • how social and organic work together.

If you are looking for data-backed insight on how to make your content perform better, this is an ebook you want to checkout !


7. The Definitive Guide to Digital Advertising

best marketing ebooks 2015 - digital advertising

As more advertising money is moving to the online world, you also have an increasingly amount of advertising options available as modern marketing. It’s truly becoming a jungle out there, with more and more tactics and technologies to choose from.

Feeling confused? Not to worry anymore, because in this comprehensive, 110+ page guide, from marketing technology vendor Marketo, they cover topics from the evolution of digital advertising, to how to structure your digital advertising team, to testing and optimization.

Loaded with checklists, charts, and thought leadership from digital advertising experts, The Definitive Guide to Digital Advertising is certainly something you want to get your hands on:

  • What makes up digital advertising
  • How to create your digital ad strategy
  • The different types of ads you have at your disposal
  • The pricing structures you can expect
  • How to target your digital ads
  • How to design your digital ads
  • The types of ad technology that are available
  • How to test and measure your ads
  • Insights from industry experts


I hope you enjoyed this collection of great ebooks. Do you have other great ebooks that you want to put in the spotlight? Please let me know in the comments !

Warm regards,

Tom De Baere