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Marketing can be considered as a process of influencing people and convincing them to buy your product or service. In the olden days, it would have been easy to achieve so just by using the traditional means of broadcasting and print media. However, the new methods of marketing demands a lot more and requires the combined effect of digital technology, focused strategies and some valuable experience to be able to market.
What you find below is the list of 25 best marketing books that we have complied for marketers, entrepreneurs, and everyone else who would like to run a future business or market a brand. The list consists of many of the best-known marketers who have written down their experiences so that the you can use their lessons to avoid mistakes and have a competitive advantage over others.
That being said, without further ado – here’s our list of the top marketing books from some of the best marketers and business leaders.
1. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
– Robert B. Cialdini
Authored by Dr. Robert Cialdini, this classic book on persuasion has sold over three million copies and has also been translated into thirty languages. This book has been listed as the New York Times Best Seller and also made to the Fortune list of “75 Smartest Business Books”. Having done an extensive research on the minds and psychology of various people, the author explains why people tend to say ‘YES’.
This highly acclaimed book is the result of Dr. Robert’s 35 years of evidence based meticulous research along with a three-year separate study on what leads people to change their behaviour. Through the six main principles of Reciprocation, Commitment & Consistency, Social Proof, Authority, Liking, and Scarcity this book will help you to become a skilled persuader and help you drive success.
2. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen
– Donald Miller
This book gives a proven solution to the business leaders who struggle in their businesses. Donald Miller through this book teaches his readers the seven universal story points that all humans respond to.
Being the New York Times best-selling author and CEO of the marketing company StoryBrand, Donald Miller knows exactly how to connect with the customers. He explains the same strategy to his readers, thus giving them the ultimate competitive advantage of getting customers use their product, services or ideas.
Irrespective of you running a multibillion-dollar company or being a small business owner, Building a StoryBrand will transform the way you talk about yourself, change the way you do things and even bring unique value to your customers.
3. Contagious: Why Things Catch On
– Jonah Berger
Named as the Best Marketing Book of 2014 by American Marketing Association and New York Times bestseller, this book from the Wharton marketing professor explains why certain products and ideas become more popular than others.
The author Jonah Berger through this book answers questions like why some stories and rumours get more infectious? What makes some online content go viral on social media platform? What makes things popular, etc. He explains the science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission and reveals the six basic principles that results in things becoming contagious.
If you read this book, you get to know specific and actionable techniques that help spread information, from messages, advertisements and content that get shared. Whether you are a large company or small business owner, politician running for office or health worker trying to spread the word, this book will show you how to get your product or idea become Contagious.
4. Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build their Business and Influence
– Gary Vaynerchuk
The author of this book, Gary Vaynerchuk is no less than a celebrity when it comes to Internet personality or the most influential entrepreneur. In this international best seller of 2009, Gary explains how a vibrant personal brand can help in boosting your entrepreneurial success. He insists on this thought by offering his understandings on what has changed over time and which principles remain timeless.
Through this practical, exuberant and inspiring book, the author analyses and explains the use of every major social media platform, so that anyone from a plumber to even a professional baseball player will learn how to use to channels to amplify his or her brand.
Crushing It! will teach you how to build your own path to financial and professional success by living a life in your terms.
5. Originals: How Non-Conformists Change the World
– Adam Grant
Through Originals, the author Adam Grant tries to improve the world through the perspective of becoming original. He shows how one can bring in new ideas, policies and practices without risking anything. This New York Times best seller evaluates how people can become victors with their new ideas in their careers and day-today lives.
Adam Grant has been quite successful in conveying his message through this book by using various surprising stories and studies that revolves around business, sports, entertainment, politics, etc. He explains how one can identify a good idea, speak up about it without being silenced, build a coalition team, choose the right time to act as well as manage fear and doubt.
This book not only helps you to change the way you see the world, but also guide you to change the way you would live your life over a period of time.
6. Blue Ocean Strategy
– W.Chan Kim | Renée Mauborgne
Sold over 4 million copies worldwide and printed in over 46 languages, this book contains the best of W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne’s articles on blue ocean strategy. Both these authors are the professors of Strategy at INSEAD, which is one of the top business schools in the world.
Although most of the author’s works were originally published in the pages of Harvard Business Review, this book brings the best of all those articles put together. The articles in this book explains the process of creating “blue oceans” which means uncontested market spaces, which are not explored by anyone. The authors gives an introduction to various tools such as Value curve, the Price Corridor of the Mass, the Strategy Canvas, the Business Model Guide, etc, that you could use to explore and exploit such market space.
Embraced by businesses worldwide, the blue ocean strategy in this international bestseller challenges everything that was perceived as the requirements for strategic success.
7. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
– Chip Heath & Dan Heath
Once Mark Twain observed, “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on”. This observation holds true even till this date as Urban legends, bogus news stories and conspiracy theories do circulate effortlessly, while great ideas from entrepreneurs, businessmen, teachers and journalists struggle to make a mark.
In the book “Made to Stick”, the Heath brothers Chip and Dan reveals ideas that stick and ways that makes these ideas stickier. Some of the principles used in this book includes human scale principle, Velcro Theory of Memory and curiosity gaps. Along the way, the authors give the reference of many sticky messages-like the infamous “kidney theft ring” hoax, a coach’s lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sony, which all draws their power from the same six traits explained in this book.
This book will help you transform the way you communicate and make your ideas stick effortlessly.
8. The 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing
– Al Ries & Jack Trout
Written by Al Ries and Jack Trout, two of the world’s leading voices in marketing consultancy, this book tries to formulate 22 unbreakable laws of marketing. The book argues, as there are laws of nature, there are also few laws of marketing, which are maintained by winning brands. It contains personal anecdotes of companies such as Rolex, Heineken, and Volvo, to prove its point.
The book also covers the newly emerging concept of internet branding and can be extremely useful for emerging companies. While the book is applauded for its explanation of examples given, it is also criticised for a lack of better synthesis of its content.
The book delineates with the mistakes one usually makes in brand-based advertising, and how to avoid them. It also has specific ideas that could help small businesses, and points out the mistakes that are often made by them.
9. This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See
– Seth Godin
Author of ten bestselling books so far, Seth Godin offers his experienced wisdom in this one-in-all package. Hitting on a personal level, the book teaches one to market ethically, and to use one’s talents to solve customer problems effectively. Godin tries to bring out deeper questions of what it means to be a ‘driver of the market’ and not just ‘market driven’.
It references many ideas that have stood the test of time, such as the Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore. However, people who are new to the field have also found his ideas to be more philosophical than strictly applicable.
This book from Seth Godin is surely a frontrunner in the field of marketing, and in the hands of an open-minded reader, has potential to be a life changer.
10. The Miracle Morning for Network Marketers
– Hal Elrod & Pat Petrini
Hal Elrod’s bestseller, The Miracle Morning for Network Marketers, focuses on the changes one needs to make to ensure their personal and professional lives are successful. An all-time favourite self-help book for many, it has a ‘Miracle Morning’ routine that is lifechanging. It includes mindset and routine changes that are necessary to attain peak performance in any business.
It is not only highly educational and inspiring, but it also contains guidelines on how you can climb up to the top 1% of network marketers. Of course, one needs to stick to the prescribed routine for a month to see the results. If you’re someone looking for that push to try and create your dream brand, this book would be a great fit. The Morning for Network Marketers 90-Day Action Planner is now also available as a daily tracker.
11. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind
– Al Ries & Jack Trout
One of its kind, Al Ries & Jack Trout’s book talks about the necessity of positioning one’s company is the customer’s mind. It focuses on how important it is to create a positive position on the collective conscious of customers and competitors alike. It also discusses how to become a household name (and why), as well as how to grab the biggest market shares.
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind takes up other minute topics such as what name to choose, how to implement latest analytical techniques. The importance of positioning is stark in today’s world, with companies like Apple and Pixar being great examples of good positioning. Critics also cite the book as being helpful for customers to understand market trends and techniques well. The book has been able to maintain its relevance, with the latest version on the market being the 20th edition.
12. Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success
– Sean Ellis & Morgan Brown
A practical toolkit that focuses on customer growth and market share, Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success deals with the concept of growth hacking. The book is a beneficial read for start-ups or data driven product management firms that are looking to reduce wasteful resources.
The book is divided into two parts. The first covers the methods and techniques of growth hacking (with examples), and the second acts as a playbook for their application. However, businesses that rely on traditional methods might find it difficult to incorporate the ideas presented in the book.
The book provides you with replicable and practical examples, whilst providing a methodology to apply these. It is a must read if you wish to align your business along more reliable, data-driven, and cost-effective lines.
13. Guerilla Marketing: Easy & Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business
– Jay Conrad Levinson
Guerrilla Marketing refers to a hardcore business strategy that uses low-cost, unconventional interactions in order to promote a brand or product. In this book, the focus is on a ‘no prisoners’ approach. Levinson proposes this through the use of solid implementation of internet marketing strategies, cultivating repeat and referral business, among others.
The book is especially helpful for small businesses looking to gain a reputation through inexpensive methods. It covers 200 methods of Guerrilla marketing, focusing on media management, behavioural and attitudinal change, etc. Unsatisfied readers, however, complain that this book contains ‘bombastic ideas’ without much direction on how to attain such great success.
Levinson focuses on customer satisfaction as well as market expansion, and on saving marketing money. The book could be a very useful read for small business just venturing out.
14. Blue Ocean Shift
– W.Chan Kim | Renee Mauborgne
Describing his book, W. Chan Kim says, “Blue Ocean Shift is a systematic process to move your organization from cutthroat markets with bloody competition… to wide-open blue oceans”. A result of more than a decade’s worth of work, Kim and Mauborgne leads the reader into finding a new, unpolluted, and competition free market space.
The book offers a fresh perspective by arguing that one does not need to be out for competitors’ blood, but simply needs to focus on growth and productivity within the company. While it is often hailed for its positivist outlook, it is also criticised as being too idealistic and metaphorical.
However, the book can provide a fresh perspective on how to create a niche for one’s company without dealing with the ugliness of unnecessary competition. It is a provocative book that leads businesses to help put their goals and vision in perspective.
15. The Marketing Blueprint: Lessons to market & sell anything
– Jules Marcoux
This book provides a step-by-step guide with focus on a wide variety of areas in marketing. Starting with the conception of a brand, the book covers all things required to maintain its relevance. It also has 30 practical lessons that can be tried and tested for application.
It is a very comprehensive guide for beginners, and has an easy-to-read structure. However, veterans in the field of marketing might also find it a bit basic for their practical use.
It remains as an effective read for beginners, and motivates them to venture out as well. As the book says, “When you’re afraid of going forward, you fall. By advancing, you constantly prevent the worst thing that could happen: falling”, encouraging readers to go out and try the techniques for themselves.
16. Marketing: A Love Story, How to Matter to Your Customers
– Bernadette Jiwa
Marketing is not the simple act of selling goods and services. Rather, it is the stories we try to tell. Recognising this, the author through this book tries to form a marketing handbook that comprises of innovative stories. It provides state-of-the-art technique to communicate with one’s clients in an effective way.
Differing from popular opinion, this book argues that businesses should not focus on competition. Rather, it should ensure that customers fully understand the product they are buying, and are happy with it. The book also brushes on the importance of presentation, and how to make customers resonate with the brand’s ideas.
Jiwa shares insightful criticism of the market today, filled with techniques of manipulation and persuasion. She argues that, in order to bring a long-lasting brand, marketers must first sell their story well.
17. The One-Minute Presentation: Explain Your Network Marketing Business Like a Pro
– Keith Schreiter
Focused on eliciting a quicky response, The One-Minute Presentation deals with the many nuances of a good presentation. The book covers everything from getting in a pitch to clearing doubts and complaints.
As the title suggests, Keith Schreiter has formulated a presentation plan which is under one minute. This means that a prospective client gets to know the business plan in the same amount of time. This helps them in taking quick decisions, and the proposer can move ahead without wasting any time. Schreiter also argues that this not only saves time but is highly flexible.
The book further elucidates on the importance of having a ‘big picture’ that the company needs to keep in mind. If you’re a hesitant entrepreneur who is looking to inculcate with people and want to do it confidently, then this book would be a great read.
18. Data-Driven Marketing: The 15 Metrics Everyone in Marketing Should Know
– Mark Jeffery
Awarded the ‘Best Marketing Book’ in 2011 by the American Marketing Association, this book focuses on a data-driven mode of marketing. Given the vast amount of data and data metrics at our disposal, every company uses it to back up their investments and costs. Data-Driven Marketing: The 15 Metrics Everyone in Marketing Should Know discusses these key metrices that are important for any company.
It simplifies these terms and discusses their relevance with life examples. While there are still formulas and big data collections, it is easy to read for someone with a bit of experience in the field. It highlights the importance of customer experience, ROMI, etc, among others.
While the flow might be somewhat slow, and vocabulary a bit technical, it is still worth the read for anyone who is actually into the field. Afterall, even Jeff Bezos had this listed on his reading list!
19. The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences
– Matt Watkinson
Winner of the CMI Management Book for the Year 2014, this book encompasses practical examples and solutions on how to deal with customer problems. As the name suggests, The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences elucidate on ten principles that can improve customer satisfaction.
Matt Watkinson dives into the psychology behind purchasing, trying to understand what makes customers come back for more. This book can be an essential read for anyone looking to increase customer engagement, especially for client problem solving businesses. However, this book could do with a bit of updating, since the examples include Nokia and iPods, which were more relevant in the last decade.
The book also includes a number of important case studies that show why customer experience matters for any firm. It exemplifies how the cycle of good customer service leads to better control and social engagement, and can make or break any company.
20. Duct Tape Marketing – The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide
– John Jantsch
Duct Tape Marketing – offers minute, step-by-step marketing guide for beginners of the field. It has a well laid out system that is enormously helpful in starting from ground zero. It has ‘action lists’ that guides you in work throughout the day, and has weekly planners as well.
Instead of focusing on the big picture stuff, it allows pioneers in the field to get a head start and plan things effectively. While this is facilitating for beginners, veterans might not find it to be of extraordinarily help. The book helps in planning budgets, and taking steps that correspond to where one’s business is at a certain point of time.
The book also offers a pretty comprehensive plan, starting with identifying your idea client. It further covers fields like Digital Marketing, Content Writing, Lead Generation, etc. All of this put together could provide great support to small businesses.
21. POP!: Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything
– Sam Horn
Explaining what goes into making an idea POP (Purposeful, Original, Pithy), the book looks at what makes one idea stay longer than others. It helps in creating ideas that are fresh, attention-hoarding, and long lasting. Many consider it a long-drawn workshop, at the end of which, one has much more clarity about one’s project.
POP!: Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything revolves around the idea of making people both think, and laugh. It is also filled with actionable exercises, so that people can apply their formulas to see where it fits. Sam Horn’s writing style is such that it feels like a teaching experience, and can be used for brainstorming purposes as well.
Horn’s book is recommendable for anyone who’s looking to market their ways in a productive way. It can also help one take a new perspective in their current business.
22. Top of Mind: Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter to You
– John Hall
In this book, the famous John Hall focuses on humanising business relations by continued audience engagement. Top of Mind is a great read for anyone who understands the importance of building real relationships.
“Business is never “just” business. Business is always about relationships”, the book states. And sure enough, brands that have a long-lasting impact exemplify this truth. The focus of the book lies with online marketing, and it explains why strong online connections are necessary. However, critics cite that Hall’s books focuses on the ‘why’ but not so much on the ‘how’. This might be a potential turn off for the beginners.
However, in the long run, the book shows why it is important to have authentic customer relations. Customers need to feel that there is another human being behind the screen, selling to them, and this trust is what the book tries to inculcate.
23. Unleash Possible: A Marketing Playbook that Drives Sales
– Samantha Stone
Unleash Possible, talks about the reality of B2B sales, and how to tackle it. It is a step-by-step manual on how to guide sales in the most profitable manner. The book also focuses on how to become an effective member of the sales process and to guide others. It has also adjusted itself to emerging forms of online selling tricks and techniques, focusing on how to partner with sales to bring in the best possible results.
Stone brings in her own personal expertise and experience to demonstrate her arguments. She also fills in with inspiring advice that asks people to revisit their marketing strategies.
Samantha Stone’s effortless writing style makes it fun to navigate an otherwise difficult field. Her focus is on growth in complex selling environments. Filled with actionable exercises and case studies, the book is a good read for anyone in sales.
24. Quantum Marketing_Mastering the New Marketing Mindset for Tomorrow’s Consumers
– Raja Rajamannar
Chief Marketing Officer at Mastercard, Raja Rajamannar, pens down tips on how to stay on top of your game in this rapidly digitalising world. An insightful read, the book revolves around the idea of ‘Quantum Marketing’, which Rajamannar believes to be the future of marketing.
While the book is helpful in setting long term goals, it does not offer actionable exercises to get one going. For people who have been in the business for a while, this book would be excellent to gain better knowledge of the industry. It mostly revolves around how marketing has evolved as a system, and how leading companies have conquered it over the ages.
Rajamannar’s book is futuristic oriented, and focuses on how different the world of marketing will look like with rapid evolution. As such, marketers need to be prepped as to how to adjust to new forms of marketing, including technological advancements.
25. Future Marketing: Winning in the Prosumer Age
– Jon Wuebben
Another futuristic book, Future Marketing: Winning in the Prosumer Age looks at fast evolving consumer industry through the eyes of a marketer. In this book, Joe Wuebben argues that “there has never been a better time to be a marketer”. With the development in technology and social connection, the world of marketing will expand ten times.
He seeks to create a road map on how the marketing world will look like by the next decade, and how to adjust businesses accordingly. It is a deeply well-researched book that inculcates ideas from more than 30 books, and is full of practical examples.
The book offers a refreshing definition of marketing, as: “Marketing is the act of genuinely connecting with people who are interested in what you are doing (and them connecting with you) so that together, you can positively impact people’s lives with a product, service and/or platform experience.”
While all the books listed above are highly venerated as exceptional books in the field, your favourite will depend on your needs and expectations. Do let us know which of these marketing books is your personal favourite, and how it has helped you and your business. Add on to the list by including other books that you have found exciting, and we’ll surely take them up! 😊