Spring break is upon us. And whether you’re hitting the slopes, hitting the surf, or just hitting the snooze button for five extra minutes, if you are a marketer at a health tech or digital health startup, you need to read these books. Add them to your suitcase or your nightstand ASAP.
I am putting these books in the order I recommend you read them in, and I’ll explain my reasoning as I go.
Simon Sinek’s book is kind of becoming cliche. So if you’re resistant to doing (or reading) what everybody else does like I am, this is one time you need to follow the crowd. Read this book. Now. Don’t even finish this article. Go read it.
Here’s why: if you haven’t clarified your why for your startup, you’re going to struggle in all of your marketing. In fact, when I work with clients, the first thing we do is discover what their overarching message is (their why) so we can tell their story in a way that will drive customers to them. Everything after the why is just building the megaphone to get your message out to the people who really need you.
If you don’t have this figured out, you’re going to pursue short term gimmicks and tactics that may get you customers for a little while, but these strategies aren’t sustainable long term. Know your why, amplify it, and then you can build loyalty with people whose values and beliefs align with yours.
If Donald Miller’s Building A Storybrand isn’t a classic yet it’s going to be. This book is the perfect follow up to Start With Why because it gives you the framework to deliver your message in a clear, compelling way.
The other reason I love this book? It turns traditional marketing on its head – marketing that focuses on the company and the brand and not on the customer. This type of marketing worked in the past, but it will do nothing for you now when your customers can find someone who puts them at the center of the story with just a few taps on their smartphones.
3. Win Bigly
This book is a recent addition to my library and a powerful one (and perhaps ironically, recommended to me by a UK friend). Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, and one of the earliest people to publicly predict a Trump win in 2016. If you’ve been ignoring this book because you thought it would be a painful recap of a painful election, then you’ve got it all wrong.
While yes, you will read plenty about Trump throughout the pages of this book, the most important takeaways are about how to persuade and reach your audience’s limbic brain, not just their reason and logic…which won’t get you very far.
After you understand your why and create the story that amplifies that why and puts your customers at the center, you need to understand good persuasion, which is exactly what this book will do for you.
Seriously, this book is mind-blowing.
While Win Bigly is powerful, it may be too anecdotal for some. If you’re like me, you like to back up real-life experience with knowledge. I read Influence before I read Win Bigly, but I think it would have been best if I read them the other way around.
Win Bigly gives the high level, layman’s terms overview while Influence deep dives into the science of the brain and why the persuasion techniques you’ll learn about in Adam’s book actually work. Robert Cialdini also recently published Pre-Suasion which I haven’t read but have it on my list to read as soon as possible.
This is another book about the science behind marketing from Douglas Van Praet, the marketer behind the Volkswagen Star Wars “The Force” commercial. Please tell me you remember that one.
Unconscious Branding is a good follow up to Influence because while Cialdini’s book is about psychology, Unconscious Branding is about marketing. It’s packed with examples of marketing campaigns that played into how the brain works to create powerful ways for consumers to connect with the brands in question.
What’s on your reading list? Comment below because I’m always looking to add to mine!
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WHO IS WHITNEY?
Whitney is a consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help life-saving, life-changing technology break through the noise and achieve mass user adoption. Learn more about her here.
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