Books Confessions of a Visual Marketer: Robert Katai

If you’ll ask him to say a few words about himself, Robert Katai will tell you he’s a Visual Marketer, a Blogger and Content Strategist at Bannersnack, an online app launched in 2008 and designed to help marketers easily create their visuals.

I don’t remember exactly when and how we met , but I can tell you he’s one of my favorite marketers – I just love his enthusiasm and good vibes. We also share an obsession for everything and anything related to Ryan Holiday, so we also bonded over that (perhaps we’ll start a local fan club?).

In 2012, he founded Instagramology, the first – and, as far as I know, only – Romanian project dedicated to Instagram strategy, where he shares tips and tricks about how to build or brand and communicate better using this social network.

Robert also writes in English, you’ll find on his blog lots of (extremely long) articles revolving around content marketing. He also contributes with content for Ad Week, The Next Web, Social Media Examiner and many others (I listed them all at the end of our interview).

I should also mention his recently launched podcast, where he talks about marketing and life with people working in media, marketing, copywriting, blogging (unfortunately, it’s in Romanian language, but I hope that one day he’ll take a leap and dedicate his projects solely to the international market).

Last but not least, today’s Robert’s birthday, he turns 30, so I’d like to wish him a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! One filled with books. Lots of books. You could never have enough books.

Read our interview to find out more about the books that he recommends (especially to those interested in working in digital marketing) and whose words made him rethink the way he uses media.


What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.

Well, I have 2 books that resonate with me and my work. The first one is a book written by Rick Warren called “The Purpose-Driven Life” and the second one is “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin.

These are the books that I can read over and over again, because they always remind me of my purpose in this life, in my daily job, and what I can do with my projects and work to create a purple cow effect. And guess what? I don’t have the “Purple Cow” book, but I’ve read it several times on my laptop or on my smartphone (yeah). But in the future I want to buy it and make it my own by taking my personal notes on it (outlined, writing my ideas).

Oh, and I almost forgot. Another book that I read on a trip when I was visiting my then girlfriend (now my wife) is David Ogilvy’s book “Confessions of an advertising man”. It’s a simple book that must be in every marketer’s or ad person’s bookshelf.


Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?

It really depends on the moment and context. For example, this year I finished reading “Trust me, I’m lying” from Ryan Holiday and it made me think how to use the media, content and other tactics to help the company I work for to be more present on the internet.

I know that Ryan wrote that book a few years ago and the social media, blogging and online marketing mediums back then were very different, but there were a few simple ideas that made me take my laptop and start working, even in the middle of my reading moment. I believe these are the books worth reading and recommending.

Another book that helped me in a specific moment was “Creative Confidence”. I don’t remember which part helped me, but I can remember that I had some mornings when I woke up at 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning just to start my day reading something creative.

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What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)

I don’t want to be too spiritual but I believe that there are books that have an impact on your everyday life and that book for me is the Bible. Exactly. I try reading the Bible every day, because it’s helping me see the world from a different perspective. And I bet you didn’t see that coming, right?

Another book that I love reading and I don’t want to hurry this process of reading is Ryan Holiday’s (any R.H. fans here?) “Perennial Seller”, in which he talks about the projects that last in time and have a long impact over the world. Maybe it’s because I also have a few projects I’m working on and I don’t want them to be just trails in the sand that are washed by the sea.



What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)

Start with “Purple Cow” from Seth Godin if you want to do something different in your industry. Then subscribe to his newsletter and read everything he publishes on his blog. Then, buy Malcolm Gladwell’s book “David and Goliath” and read the interesting stories about how the Davids of that moments have defeated the Goliaths.

If you want to do social media start with “Jab Jab Jab Right Hook” and move forward to “Ask Gary Vee” by Gary Vaynerchuk. Even if Gary has admitted that he has a ghostwriter writing his book, you can see Gary’s personality and also his experience in the social media field in this book. These are some great books to start with in social media.


I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?

I try reading every day and that requires what some may call sacrifices. That includes waking up a few minutes earlier to go to my office and read some pages before starting to work, or just enjoying the moments before everyone wakes up to drink my coffee and catch up on my books.

I like going to the extreme with my reading habits because I’m not disrupted by any other digital notification or phone calls from a friend.

I love reading books with a pencil in my hand and outlining everything I like or that resonates with me or the things I’m working on. That’s why I’m not borrowing my books. And every time I need an idea, I just open a book I finished reading and there I get my ideas from.


How do you make time for reading?

How do you make time to eat? How do you make time to answer a phone call? How do you make time to scroll your Facebook newsfeed? Exactly. If you want to do something you will do it.

I want to read but I know that the best time for me is in the morning. So I wake up at 6 o’clock and start reading. Sometimes I read in the evening when I go to bed, but those are fewer opportunities because I’m tired and I can’t focus.


Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

The first book I took notes on was Aneta Bogdan’s book “Branding on the Eastern Front” on which I wrote several ideas, outlined several paragraphs that helped me write some of my blog posts. I remember when someone came to my house, saw that book and asked me if they could borrow it. My answer was “No”. Then I opened the book in front of him and showed him the reason of my answer. I don’t mind sharing books, but I don’t want my personal ideas to influence the ones I’m giving the book to.


How do you choose what books to read next?

I have several authors that I’m following but I also like getting recommendation from different persons.


Do you prioritize those recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?

Not really, I don’t have any book-recommendation guru, I just try to keep updated with what is new and sometimes I just use the WOM marketing tactic 🙂


Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?

I’m currently reading Ryan Holiday’s book “Perennial Seller” and after this I want to start a biography about C.S. Lewis (the guy who wrote Narnia).



Links where you can follow Robert Katai, find out more about his projects or read what he writes:

  • Robert Katai’s English blog
  • Robert’s personal blog [Romanian language]
  • Instagramology
  • Bannersnack
  • Follow Robert on Instagram
  • Robert’s Twitter account
  • Robert on Medium
  • Robert @ Ad Week
  • Robert @ The Next Web
  • Robert @ Social Media Examiner
  • Robert @ Maximize Social Business
  • Robert @ Hot In Social Media


  • Books mentioned by Robert in this interview:

  • The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? – Rick Warren
  • Purple Cow – Seth Godin
  • Confessions of an Advertising Man – David Ogilvy
  • Trust Me, I’m Lying – Confessions of a Media Manipulator – Ryan Holiday
  • Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All – Tom Kelley, David Kelley
  • Perennial Seller – Ryan Holiday
  • David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants – Malcolm Gladwell
  • Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World – Gary Vaynerchuk
  • #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness – Gary Vaynerchuk

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