The Top 9 Marketing Books to Read at Least Once


How many marketing books have you read this year? Perusing these texts provides insight into the techniques, theories and strategies that make you better at your job. Stay on top of the trends by getting between the covers of volumes on the subject.

How do you separate the original ideas from the same old sales pitches among thousands of available titles?

We’ve compiled this list of the nine best marketing books that elevate your skills rather than collect dust. From classical memoirs to more recent publications, each gets you thinking differently about how to reach potential consumers.

It’s time to get reading.

Colorful books in library stacks

Key Takeaways

  1. Reading marketing books provides insight into different techniques, theories and strategies in the marketing field and helps improve skills.
  2. Marketing literature also teaches better communication skills and provides practical advice on connecting with customers.
  3. It offers inspiration on how to stand out from the competition.
  4. The 9 best marketing books include: “The Life of P.T. Barnum,” “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” “Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends, and Friends into Customers,” “Contagious: Why Things Catch on,” “Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization,” “Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike,” “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products,” “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die” and “Thinking, Fast and Slow.”
    It offers inspiration on how to stand out from the competition.
  5. Each of these books offers different perspectives on data, customer experience and content, and can be used to find the right balance of each to achieve success in sales.

Tree-shaped bookshelf with many books.

Why Should You Read Marketing Books?

Even seasoned marketers benefit from the wisdom of other professionals who have alternative perspectives of the advertising world. Lessons from books help you revamp your tactics, create fresh content and approach issues unconventionally.

Marketing literature teaches better communication skills, enabling you to deal with demanding clients more effectively. In addition, it gives you practical advice about connecting with your customers to retain their business and accelerate growth.

Books on marketing also inspire you on ways to stand out from the crowd. As competition stuffs the industry, it’s crucial to use unique angles that bring consumers to you. 

The 9 Best Marketing Books

We think every marketer should read these nine titles at least once. These books each offer different views on data, customer experience and content. Use them to help find the correct balance of each component to propel yourself towards a sales victory.

1. The Life of P.T. Barnum by P.T. Barnum

This is the first modern edition of P.T. Barnum’s biography that immortalises the renowned showman. From hoodwinking customers into paying for outrageous tales to establishing circuses, he personified all that was grand in American culture.

It’s not just an entertaining tale. By forming his public image through lifelong self-promotion, Barnum invented many of the tactics still dominating the advertising industry

Give this marketing book a go for an amusing reminder of the essential elements needed to build a lasting brand.

2. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

Robert B. Cialdini’s must-read bestseller provides evergreen advice about how to put the “six pillars of influence” into practice. Consumers look at reciprocation, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority and scarcity to make quick decisions.

The author describes how to ethically apply these principles to become skilled at persuading people to say yes. Backed by 35 years of evidence, his methods model what motivates individuals to alter their behaviour.

Put the steps from this comprehensive guide into action to make choices for your customers and defend yourself against dishonesty. Influence is possibly one of the best marketing books of all time.

3. Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends, and Friends into Customers by Seth Godin

Traditional TV commercials and telemarketing calls annoy potential consumers by disturbing their free time. Godin calls this “interruption advertising,” and as many professionals know, it’s no longer effective.

The entrepreneurial guru presents a new way to win your clients over through Permission Marketing. He believes in building long-term customer relationships by incentivising clients to accept advertising willingly.

The book describes how companies can create a trustworthy image by only reaching out to individuals interested in their products. This approach builds brand awareness and improves the chances of a successful sale.

4. Contagious: Why Things Catch on by Jonah Berger

Do you know what makes online content go viral? For a decade, Jonah Berger tracked the life of a rumour to discover the patterns behind why things catch on. His findings? Topics only become popular because people talk about them.

This marketing book is a must-read for owners of start-ups or small businesses trying to get their products out there. Berger outlines six principles that drive ideas to become contagious and shape human behaviour.

He describes his groundbreaking research along with entertaining and powerful stories. They show how to use the concept to design messages, advertisements and information that consumers share.

5. Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization by Olivier Blanchard

In the age of Instagram, Tik Tok and Facebook, it’s essential for businesses to integrate social media into their marketing. However, effectively including these communications in your organisation requires substantial groundwork.

Olivier Blanchard’s book explains how companies can adopt social media using his policies and guidelines. In addition, he provides sensible and sustainable ways to use online communications to produce results that grow revenue.

Use his ideas to get serious about customer communication and gain a return on every cent you invest into socials.

6. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight describes his company’s evolution into one of the world’s most iconic brands. His unconventional path to begin his own business resulted in a dynamic company with a globe-spanning symbol.

This memoir is an inspirational story for marketers. It shows that a fearless start-up can become a profitable corporation with passion, the right people, and strong advertising tactics.

7. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

Why are some products smash-hits while others barely make the radar? Consumer focus is the new definition of brand success. Nir Eyal describes how he used years of research to design steps that produce more addictive merchandise.

His four-step “Hook Model” provides practical insights into creating goods that bring users back and convert them into loyal customers. Through features and clever advertising, companies can build habit-forming products that people love

This marketing book is an essential read for entrepreneurs aiming to create wares that clients can’t get enough of.

8. Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles MacKay

Before professional sales even existed, Charles MacKay wrote this 1841 survey of crowd psychology. He discusses manias such as the South Sea Bubble, the Mississippi Scheme and the tulip craze of the Netherlands.

MacKay’s explorations of these historic events confirm that greed and fear are the driving forces of financial bubbles. His absorbing storytelling offers unmistakable parallels to modern marketing and remains an important influence in identifying boom and bust cycles.

9. Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy by Martin Lindstrom

If you’ve ever wondered why customers choose one product over another, Martin Lindstrom’s book is for you. He undertook a three-year study to uncover how consumers perceive logos, commercials and merchandise.

This cutting-edge experiment observed 2,000 volunteers as they saw different advertisements to learn what drove them to buy. The results showed customers perceive branded products as more valuable than those that aren’t.

Buyology provides crucial lessons on how to use buyer psychology to boost sales and create customer loyalty.

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Develop a Fresh Approach by Reading Marketing Books

The titles on our list of top marketing books are a collection of varied principles and philosophies on sales. However, they all have the same objective: To show you proven methods of revamping your market strategy by building relationships with customers.

Developing a fresh marketing approach that accelerates the growth of your business could be as easy as visiting your nearest bookstore.

Has reading these volumes encouraged you to rewrite your brand’s story? Contact Hippo Thinks for advice on how to establish your company’s presence in the current markets.


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