This is the third and final post of a three-part series about books that marketing and product management executives should internalize to create seriously successful products and services. If you have not read the first or second articles in the series, you can do so here.

Inbound Marketing
Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs
By Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah

How will these ideas help you?
What percentage of your purchases over the last year came from telemarketers, product email asking you to take a demo, or advertising? If you are like most business people and consumers, it is a relatively small percentage. You get your information from search engines, bloggers (or online journalist) that you trust, and recommendations shared by friends. For most organizations over the past 5 years, the facts support the notion that you are wasting your company’s time and money by following the same interruption-based marketing plan that you and your competitors have spent your budgets on for years.

Inbound Marketing provides the rules and game plan to purposefully get found by qualified customers by consistently producing original, insightful, and helpful content that your target audiences will consume, follow, and share.

Example: Whole Foods Market’s website gets thousands of views every day by the exact market they are trying to reach. Compare the website traffic of Whole Foods, whose inbound strategy positions them as a resource for their customers, with that of Trader Joe’s, whose web site is built around their products. Though these two companies have a similar target customer profile and roughly the same about of stores across the country, Whole Foods Market receives double the traffic that Trader Joe’s does.

By producing information of value for people interested in high-quality, low-processed, and natural meals, in the form of recipes, Whole Foods has greatly expanded their reach in their target market at a very low cost compared to traditional advertising.

Get a taste of Inbound Marketing online.

Put Ideas from Brilliant Business Books Into Action
Think about the approaches laid out in Blue Ocean Strategy, Purple Cow, and Inbound Marketing in terms of your business, your customers, your industry, and your competitors. Question the ideas and think about the them critically. Try to find examples in your career or current business that break the models in each book. Then, run with the ideas that you connect with. Translate them into a plan that you can test with your business. Finally, share your vision across the organization…starting with passing along these books.

You may have noticed that these are not new books. The most recently published book listed is Inbound Marketing, published in 2009. I intentionally did not include books published in 2010 for two reason:

  1. None of the books I have come across this year have the ability to change the performance of businesses like the books I referenced.
  2. I am still testing the strategies, processes, and tactics that I gleamed from the newer crop. 

Whether you are shopping for a busy executive or you are an executive flipping through the pages of Sky Mall to compile your wish list, these titles are sure to positively impact your business in 2011.

Which books would you add to this holiday wish list?