15 Best Marketing Books
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15 Best Marketing Books To Upgrade Your Skills In 2023

Marketing is now firmly in the digital world—a supersonic place where things constantly shift and evolve, which makes it tough for marketers to keep up. But keep up you must, and reading books from the industry’s biggest brains is one of the best ways to do so. In this article, we explore the 15 best marketing books that you can read in 2023, which will expand your knowledge on crucial areas like psychology, advertising, content marketing, social marketing, and more.

The 15 best marketing books for 2023

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

best marketing books to read influence
Image by Ged Caroll, CC BY 2.0

Author: Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D.
Goodreads average rating: 4.20
Marketing book application: Understand buying psychology
Link to book

Influence was originally printed in 2006, back when marketing was a very different beast. But its ideas are still highly relevant for modern marketers because they explore the psychology of persuasion—a phenomenon as old as the human race.

Cialdini explores six universal principles that can help you become a skilled persuader: reciprocity, commitment/consistency, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity. Each of these are explored in detail, with plenty of enlightening examples of how they can be used.

The power of these ideas even prompted Cialdini to add a disclaimer at the end of the book, acknowledging how they can be misused.

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

best marketing books to read 22 laws
Image from publisher Allen & Unwin

Author: Al Ries & Jack Trout
Goodreads average rating: 4.05
Marketing book application: General good practices for marketing
Link to book

Marketing is a vast and complex beast that can take decades to master, and for the majority of people yet to gain that noble status, having a clearly defined list of guidelines is extremely handy.

In the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, Al Ries and Jack Trout provide you with this list, which cover various areas of marketing such as brand awareness, brand positioning and product categorisation, promoting new products, and leadership. While these are described as fixed “laws” by the authors, in reality, many big innovative companies have skirted them successfully. But they do serve as excellent guideposts to direct your marketing efforts.

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

best marketing books to read contagiousImage from publisher Simon & Schuster

Author: Jonah Berger
Goodreads average rating: 3.97
Marketing book application: Understand what drives trends
Link to book

This excellent book by Jonah Berger delves into the reasons why some products and ideas become popular, and some fall by the wayside. It has a strong focus on psychology, burrowing into the anatomy of trends and dissecting the various parts so that you can apply the knowledge to your own products and services.

Berger presents six “STEPPS” principles of why some things are contagious: social currency, triggers, emotion, public, practical value, stories. He explores these with a wide variety of sources: case studies, photos, charts, and plenty of original research, which allow you to understand each principle more easily.

This is Marketing

best marketing books this is marketing
Image from publisher Penguin

Author: Seth Godin
Goodreads average rating: 3.97
Marketing book application: General good practices for marketing
Link to book

This Is Marketing is a book by legendary marketer Seth Godin. It brings together Godin’s foundational marketing knowledge into one book, and teaches you how to position your products and services, build trust, tell captivating stories, and identity opportunities, to name a few things.

Godin has strong humanistic values that he weaves throughout his marketing advice. He tries to teach you how to market your company both effectively and ethically, which people recognise and respond positively to. After all, nobody likes to feel as though they’re being pushed and pulled about by unscrupulous companies. We’re more likely to be loyal to companies who share our positive values.

Some accuse Godin of being a little too fluffy in his approach, but this book is still well worth a read.

Building a StoryBrand

best-marketing books to read building a story brand
Image from publisher HarperCollins

Author: Donald Miller
Goodreads average rating: 4.28
Marketing book application: Create clear, enticing brand messaging
Link to book

Donald Miller’s Building A StoryBrand teaches you how to create a positive identity for your company, that is aligned with your mission, vision, and values. With clear and simple storytelling techniques, you can create brand messaging that cuts through the noise and embeds itself into your customers’ minds. Simplicity is at the heart of this book—people just want to quickly understand what your brand is offering, and how you can help them to solve their problems, and these can be easily communicated with effective storytelling techniques.

It’s a cliche, but this book is all about putting the customer first; about realising that they are the hero in this situation, not your business.

Ogilvy on Advertising

best marketing books to read on advertising
Image from AbeBooks

Author: David Ogilvy
Goodreads average rating: 4.14
Marketing book application: Become an advertising pro
Link to book

David Ogilvy is one of the original advertising elite who worked on Madison Avenue, and is thought to have influenced the hit TV series Mad Men. His knowledge and experience in advertising is legendary, so when he speaks, it’s a good idea to listen.

While advertising has changed a lot since Ogilvy’s day, the principles that he preaches are just as relevant today. The book covers topics such as layouts, customer research, headlines, and the importance of focusing on benefits. If you want to learn how to make your adverts sizzle, this is the book for you.

The 1-Page Marketing Plan

best marketing books 1 page marketing plan
Image from publisher Page Two Books

Author: Allan Dib
Goodreads average rating: 4.29
Marketing book application: Create simple marketing strategies
Link to book

Marketing is often a big undertaking that requires a solid plan to get right. This plan doesn’t need to be hundreds of pages long and filled with lengthy research, but it does need to outline the most important elements of your marketing goals and how you will achieve them. In The 1-Page Marketing Plan, Allan Dib tries to teach you how to do this in a clear and concise way, covering crucial areas such as your target market, messaging, content assets, how to capture leads and sales, and how to increase your customer lifetime value. And all in a single page that you can print and stick on the wall.

If you’d like to take a look, we have our own take on how to create a one page marketing plan, which focuses on your goals, methods, and how to report on them. It includes a free downloadable template too!

Epic Content Marketing

best marketing books to read epic content marketing
Image from Goodreads

Author: Joe Pulizzi
Goodreads average rating: 3.99
Marketing book application: Learn how to win customers with content
Link to book

Joe Pulizzi is the founder of Content Marketing Institute—a globally-recognised content marketing company that helps businesses to grow with compelling content. His book Epic Content Marketing has become a bible of sorts for content marketing, because it’s filled with straightforward, easy-to-follow advice on how to write great content for your company.

The book covers everything you need to know, including how to “sell” content marketing to executives and convince them to invest in it, how to create a content marketing strategy, how to manage the content process, and how to measure content marketing the right way. If you want to learn why content is one of the most effective long-term marketing strategies, and how to execute it for your business, read this book.

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

best marketing books positioning
Image from Amazon

Author: Al Ries & Jack Trout
Goodreads average rating: 4.02
Marketing book application: Learn how to position your company and products
Link to book

As the title suggests, Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout is all about how to create a position in people’s minds for your company and its products, in a way that becomes seared into their brain. It describes the importance of finding your niche and then focusing as much as possible on it, so that what you are offering is simple, clear, and highly memorable to customers.

You’ll learn about how to get into people’s minds, how to rise above your competitors, the awesome power of brand names, and a whole lot more. Highly recommend read.

Permission Marketing

best marketing books permission marketing

Image from publisher Simon & Schuster

Author: Seth Godin
Goodreads average rating: 3.91
Marketing book application: Become a more ethical and effective marketer
Link to book

The premise behind Permission Marketing is to politely ask for people to check out your products or services, rather than blitzing them with intrusive adverts that can be, quite frankly, a bit rude. The goal of this style of marketing is to develop long-term relationships, build loyal customers, and build positive brand awareness where people see your brand and instantly think “I love those guys.”

There’s lots of juicy information on how to get customers’ attention, as well as what to do after you’ve gotten it. Seth Godin is an icon in the marketing world, and this book is one of his best.

Crossing the Chasm

best marketing books to read crossing the chasm
Image from publisher HarperCollins

Author: Geoffrey A. Moore & Regis McKenna
Goodreads average rating: 4.00
Marketing book application: Learn how to market a brand new product
Link to book

Crossing The Chasm is specifically about introducing a brand new, innovative product to the market (called diversification in Ansoff’s Matrix). What Moore and McKenna refer to as the “chasm” is the frightening amount of information that you simply don’t know when trying to sell a brand new product in a brand new market, and they teach you how to build a cross to bridge it. While it’s intended for business owners and marketers in high-tech industries, their theories should work well for anyone who is trying to introduce a truly disruptive product, and isn’t quite sure how to approach it.

Blue Ocean Strategy

best marketing books to read blue ocean strategy
Image from Goodreads

Author: W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne
Goodreads average rating: 3.98
Marketing book application: Learn how to create your own markets
Link to book

This premise of Blue Ocean Strategy is to develop innovative new markets—blue oceans—that can become immense sources of wealth. It recommends turning away from the traditional battles against competitors (what they call “red oceans”), and instead suggests that to become truly successful, you need to create your own markets where you are the only initial player.

To help you achieve this, Kim and Mauborgne provide you with tools and frameworks, and instructions on how to use them. They also give plenty of examples of innovative businesses who have succeeded with this strategy, such as Cirque du Soleil, Starbucks, and the Body Shop.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

best marketing books jab jab right hook
Image from publisher HarperCollins

Author: Gary Vaynerchuk
Goodreads average rating: 3.98
Marketing book application: Become a social media guru
Link to book

This bestselling book from Gary Vaynerchuk teaches you how to do social marketing the right way—with hundreds of quality little jabs, before following up with a hard right hook. The analogy is excellent. As social media users, we rarely respond to the big “right hook” campaigns that businesses hit us with. Instead, for the companies doing it right, we consume lots of little nuggets of content until their brand becomes familiar and attractive to us. Then, when the brand gives us a “right hook” with a big, bold proposal, we are much more likely to succumb to it.

The book teaches you how to deliver high-quality social content to each major platform, with their unique quirks and audiences. It’s a must-read if you’re serious about growing your brand on social media.

Hacking Growth

best marketing books hacking growth
Image from Goodreads

Author: Sean Ellis & Morgan Brown
Goodreads average rating: 4.1
Marketing book application: Learn about the potential of growth teams
Link to book

If you’re trying to break into a highly competitive industry and increase your market shareHacking Growth is the book for you. It focuses on the idea of developing a growth team—a hybrid of marketers, engineers, analysts and product designers working together to drive growth. This is opposite to the traditional “siloed” team structures, where sales, marketing, and product development teams are scattered and rarely talk to each other. By creating a powerhouse growth team, you can compete with the very best, as proven by companies like Uber, Facebook, Microsoft, and many more highly successful businesses.

They Ask You Answer

best marketing books they ask you answer

Image from Wiley

Author: Marcus Sheridan
Goodreads average rating: 4.32
Marketing book application: Learn the basics of content marketing
Link to book

They Ask You Answer is another gem of a book about content marketing, and how it can power the growth of your business. People “ask” for a stupendous amount of information in search engines every day, and to get their business, you need to answer them with excellent content.

Sheridan explores how to get started on your content marketing journey, what you should include in your content calendars, and the types of content that you should consider writing about. It’s a great introduction to content marketing and how you can do it successfully. Pair this with Epic Content Marketing, and you have solid foundations on which to start.

Best marketing books to read—summary

That’s it—the 15 best marketing books to read in 2023. 1Marketing is an industry that constantly evolves with technology, and by staying on top of the latest techniques and strategies, you will be able to compete with the very best.