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2022 CMO Reading List

A wise person once said, “dress for the job you want.” I say, read for the job you want! 

While a sharp outfit certainly can’t hurt your chances of growing your career, when it comes to moving up in marketing, learning from industry experts is non-negotiable. Whether you’re just getting started in the world of marketing or have decades of experience under your belt, with marketing trends and innovations moving at such a fast clip there is always something new to learn about the industry. And, who better to soak up new knowledge from than seasoned marketers and other professionals that have taken the time to turn their learnings into powerful writing?

In honor of National Book Lovers Day (August 9) I’ve compiled a list of my favorite books that are not only insightful and interesting, but have also been foundational to my success as a marketer. Plus, I’ve also peppered in a few book recommendations from marketing leaders across the industry that I’m excited to read in the future!

Keep reading to check out my 2022 CMO Reading List, a guide for current CMOs and aspiring CMOs alike!

2022 CMO Reading List Overview

No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls.: The Next Generation of Account-Based Sales and Marketing

By Latané Conant

We all know what it’s like to receive a cold call. And, we all know how impersonal and as a result, ineffective that form of communication can be. In this book, Latané Conant shares how to align your sales and marketing strategies with the rest of your customer experience (CX) which means putting older tactics like cold calls to rest. Conant’s customer-first ethos directly questions the efficacy of the ABM tactics of yesteryear, uncovering new strategies that will actually drive results in today’s market!  

Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Human Behavior

By Jonah Berger

In this page-turner, Jonah Berger uncovers the seemingly hidden force of social influence. Berger posits that the behavior of those around us plays a huge factor in everything we do: from the music we listen to, to the cars we drive, and even the political parties we identify with. This book helps uncover how social influence drives trends and what we can do to harness its power.

CMO to CRO: The Revenue Takeover by the Next Generation Executive

By Mike Geller, Rolly Keenan, and Brandi Starr

In this book, three marketing industry thought leaders come together to share how and why CMOs and other marketing executives are perfectly positioned to use the power of CX to impact revenue. The authors share actionable recommendations of where to implement CX technology to delight customers and beat the competition. 

Moving to Outcomes: Why Partnerships are the Future of Marketing

By Robert Glazer and Matt Wool

Partnership marketing isn’t new, but the authors of this book believe that it is the next frontier in marketing success. With digital advertising behemoths like Google and Facebook demanding more and more of your budget, Robert Glazer and Matt Wool say it’s time to start considering diversifying your marketing strategy with their proven partnership tips.

Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success

By Adam Grant

According to Adam Grant, in the working world most people fall into one of the following categories: takers, matchers, or givers. While takers and matchers tend to glean as much as they can off of other people, matchers prefer a more even exchange. Givers tend to provide for and elevate others without expecting anything in return. Understanding why and how these different types of workers operate is key to building a strong team and reaching new levels of success.

Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact

By Phil M Jones

Sometimes it can be hard to know exactly what to say and when to say it, that’s where author Phil M Jones comes in! In his book, Jones draws from his body of experience to help readers sharpen their selling lexicon with words that cause action, and even better, sales. This handy book is chock full of tactical ways to improve your communication style with customers.

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

By Jonah Berger

In this book, Jonah Berger focuses on how the phenomenon of word-of-mouth actually works and how to leverage it in marketing contexts. While there is no guide to ensure that your product or content will go viral, Berger’s book is certainly a good place to start. In Contagious: Why Things Catch On, you’ll learn how to utilize the power of social transmission to build buzz around your brand.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

By James Clear

In this bestselling book, author James Clear explains how to create new small habits and stick to them. Looking to run a marathon? Or, maybe you’d just like to be better about washing the dishes? Whatever your goal is, Clear explains how tiny, “atomic” habits can get you to the literal or figurative finish line of your next goal.

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

By Brené Brown

Let’s get real—who doesn’t love Brené Brown!? In this book Brown talks about what it takes to be an effective leader. It’s not about the title, the money, or the power. Rather, it’s about taking the time to observe those around you, discover their strengths, and elevate them to new heights. But, where do you start? According to Brown effective leadership begins with empathy and vulnerability, terms seldom heard in the boardroom.

From Impossible to Inevitable: How SaaS and Other Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue

By Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin

Wondering how tech industry legends like Salesforce and Hubspot managed to achieve hypergrowth? In this book, authors Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin lay out a play book with sustainable strategies for growing your business and scaling revenue. Drawing inspiration from some of the most notable tech companies of the past 10 years, this book will give you the tips you need to take your business from zero to 100!

Quantum Marketing: Mastering the New Marketing Mindset for Tomorrow's Consumers

By Raja Rajamannar

In this work, CMO of Mastercard, Raja Rajamannar, shares how leaders can adapt to the ever-changing marketing industry. Which strategies that work today might not work next year? And, what kinds of marketing innovations should you implement to keep up with the industry? Read this book to find out!

Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals

By Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

Trying to run data-driven marketing campaigns without a data science background? The fix is in! In this book, Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic shares tactical advice for effective storytelling with data. Nussbaumer Knaflic covers everything from how to know what type of graph to use, to how to leverage data visualization concepts. If bar and pie charts are in your future, be sure to pick up a copy of this book!

Category Creation: How to Build a Brand that Customers, Employees, and Investors Will Love

By Anthony Kennada

We’ve all heard of category creation, heck—some of us have probably done it before! But what really goes into creating a new product or service category? In this book, former Gainsight CMO, Anthony Kennada, pulls from his professional experience in creating the “customer success” category to provide readers with the steps they should take and questions they should be asking for a positive outcome when creating a new category.

Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It

By April Dunford

With years of experience as a start-up executive and 16 product launches to boot, April Dunford has uncovered the secret to product positioning. If your company has an awesome product but you’re having trouble communicating that to an external audience, order this book ASAP. Dunford’s book will help you understand and apply the five components of effective positioning so you can start winning new customers today.

Marketing Flexology: How to Outsmart Change and Future-proof Your Career

By Engelina Jaspers

When times are tough, marketing budgets get cut. And when that happens, you need to be able to adjust—whether it’s finding a new job, or learning to do more with less money or headcount. In Marketing Flexology you’ll learn how to “future-proof” your marketing career and build teams and strategies that can withstand whatever changes your organization is working through.

MOVE: The 4-question Go-to-Market Framework

By Sangram Vajre and Bryan Brown

A must-read for B2B marketers, MOVE offers a 4-question framework that leaders should ask when thinking strategically about moving their business forward. Authors Sangram Vajre and Bryan Brown, provide a blueprint for decision making and planning to keep your company's flywheel turning.

While there’s no shortage of great books on marketing and leadership strategies, these are a few of my favorites, plus a few titles I’m excited to read. Hopefully there is something on this list that piques your interest so you can sit back, relax, and curl up with a great book this National Book Lovers Day!

~ Tracy Sestili, VP of Marketing

Tracy Sestili is a tenured marketing executive leading teams at Intellimize, Fountain, SparkPost (acquired by MessageBird), Cisco, and TiVo. She has previously served on the board of Women for WineSense, and co-founded a nonprofit for lung cancer, for which she received a Bay Area Jefferson Award.

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