Ryan Deiss’ 5 Holy Grail Advertising Book

Seemingly EVERYTHING is changing ALL the time — however, a few things will not change.

  1. The power of good copy.
  2. How humans perceive and express value.
  3. The importance of a seamless, fulfilling value journey.

In the ever-evolving landscape of marketing, it’s crucial to stay grounded in the fundamentals that have stood the test of time. But where can you turn to get a refresher on these tried-and-true marketing principles? According to Ryan Deiss, Founder & CEO of DigitalMarketer, you go straight to the greats. Here, we unveil the five books he recommends to brush up on the essentials of marketing – timeless treasures that continue to shape the way we approach the craft.

#1 Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

An overview of the core principals all ad-like communication, Ogilvy on Advertising is often recommended as the first advertising book you should ever read. So if you’ve been in the business for a while, it’s time to pick it up and learn what you’ve been missing. Some takeaways include:

  1. Recognizing a Big Idea: Ogilvy provides a framework for recognizing a big idea by asking five questions, such as whether it made the reader gasp and if they wished they had thought of it themselves.
  2. The Power of Research and Understanding the Product: Ogilvy emphasizes the importance of thorough research and understanding the product before creating an advertisement. He believes that the more you know about the product, the better you can come up with a big idea.
  3. Making the Product the Hero: Ogilvy advocates for making the product the hero in advertisements, emphasizing that there are no dull products, only dull writers. He believes in the importance of turning the product into a hero by illustrating how it can benefit the consumer.

#2 Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins

“Nobody, at any level, should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times.” – David Ogilvy

If that’s not a compelling enough recommendation, I don’t know what is. Scientific Advertising gives you the fundamentals of direct response marketing, from one of the original pioneers of the craft. Some top takeaways include:

  1. Advertising as Salesmanship: Hopkins emphasizes that advertising is multiplied salesmanship, and its purpose is to sell. He stresses the importance of treating advertising as a scientific process, where the effectiveness of ads can be measured and improved.
  2. The Significance of Truth in Advertising: Hopkins asserts that consumers care more about the truth than ever before. He highlights the importance of honesty and transparency in advertising, as consumers are increasingly valuing brands that are truthful and ethical.
  3. The Scientific Nature of Advertising: Hopkins presents advertising as a science, with fixed principles, the ability to analyze cause and effect, and established methods of procedure. He advocates for a systematic and scientific approach to advertising, including the use of individual experiments to test the effectiveness of ads.

#3 Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz

A copywriting handbook from 1966, Breakthrough Advertising remains a cult classic in marketing. It’s loaded with essential information on copywriting, persuasion, marketing, and human behavior. The testimonials speak for themselves. Some of the key takeaways include:

  1. Understanding and Channeling Desire: Schwartz emphasizes that copywriting cannot create desire for a product, but it can tap into the existing hopes, dreams, fears, and desires of the target audience. He outlines the importance of understanding and channeling mass desire to create compelling advertisements.
  2. States of Awareness and Market Sophistication: Schwartz introduces the concept of states of awareness and stages of market sophistication, which are crucial for crafting effective advertising messages. Understanding where the audience is in terms of their awareness and the market’s sophistication is essential for tailoring the message to resonate with them.
  3. The Power of Headlines and Copywriting Techniques: The book highlights the significance of headlines in capturing attention and leading the audience into the body copy. Schwartz also presents 38 ways to strengthen headlines and seven techniques of breakthrough advertising, providing practical guidance for creating impactful copy.

#4 Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples

Another Ogilvy-recommended text, Tested Advertising Methods is full of practical tested advice and real examples you can model in your ads. Some of the key takeaways include:

  1. The Three-Step Approach to Creativity: Caples emphasizes the importance of capturing the prospect’s attention, maintaining their interest, and moving them to favorable action. This approach highlights the need to focus on the prospect and what they will gain from the product or service1.
  2. The Three-Step Approach to Testing: Caples outlines a systematic approach to testing advertising methods, emphasizing the importance of continuous testing and refinement to ensure the effectiveness of ad campaigns.
  3. The Power of Headlines: Caples stresses the significance of headlines, suggesting that the success of an entire advertising campaign may depend on the effectiveness of the headline. He emphasizes making the offer clear instantly and appealing to the audience’s nature.
  4. Specificity in Copy: Caples advocates for the use of specific details in advertising copy, suggesting that being specific, such as using statistics, can make a point more powerful and the copy more effective.

#5 The Wizard of Ads by Roy Williams

Full of insightful wisdom on why humans do what they do, every advertiser and copywriter should pick up a copy of the Wizard of Ads. Some of the key takeaways include:

  1. Advertising is about storytelling: Successful advertisements are those that tell a story and connect with the audience on a deeper level, rather than just selling products or services.
  2. Constant testing and refinement: The most successful advertisers are those who constantly test and refine their messages, keeping track of what works and what doesn’t to improve future campaigns.
  3. Understanding the consumer: Effective advertising requires a deep understanding of the psychology and behavior of the target audience. Empathizing with their needs, wants, and desires is crucial.
  4. The power of words: The book emphasizes the importance of language, imagery, and creative elements in creating ads that resonate with the target market.
  5. Challenging traditional norms: The book encourages innovative thinking and challenges the traditional ways of advertising, emphasizing the need to innovate and adapt.

For more awesome, tried and proven, actionable content and specific tools and tactics check out Traffic & Conversion Summit where you can hear from the world’s leading experts on all things Tools & Tactics. Traffic & Conversion Summit is the BIGGEST digital marketing event in the US for entrepreneurs and agency owners. Check it out here!

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