Disclosure: We may receive compensation if you purchase a product through one of the links below. Our editors independently selected each product featured.
If you’re a business owner or aspiring entrepreneur, marketing is one of the most important determinants of your brand’s success. Marketing refers to the actions a business takes to attract an audience or customer base. There are tons of marketing books in print, so we put together a guide of the 20 best marketing books that provide the greatest value. In our increasingly online, ever-connected world, we are all branding and selling ourselves, so marketing is relevant not just in the business world but across many dimensions of life.
We designed this guide to be more personalized than similar lists you might find elsewhere — our picks for the best marketing books are separated into different categories based on their intended audiences, including:
The 11 Best Marketing Strategy Books
The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, and Stand Out From the Crowd by Allan DibBuy Now
Our top pick for marketing strategy books is Allan Dib’s wildly popular, actionable handbook for creating a concise marketing strategy for your business. The 1-Page Marketing Plan suits the needs of both novice and experienced entrepreneurs, with strategies geared especially toward owners of small- and medium-sized businesses. True to the title, the book provides a step-by-step process and template for creating a one-page marketing plan.
Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée MauborgneBuy Now
W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne’s Blue Ocean Strategy is one of the most celebrated marketing strategy books on the market, with over 3.5 million copies sold worldwide and countless awards and accolades. The book teaches entrepreneurs and business owners how to create and capitalize upon “blue oceans,” or untapped new market areas. Blue Ocean Strategy covers the key concepts of the blue ocean approach, especially the concept of value innovation, and details the four principles of blue ocean strategy formulation and two key implementation strategies.
Contagious, Why Things Catch On by Jonah BergerBuy Now
Contagious, Why Things Catch On explores the science behind how word-of-mouth and social transmission work. By revealing the six principles of how ideas and products catch on, Contagious appeals to business leaders, politicians, health officials, and anyone trying to sell a product or pitch an idea. The book was a New York Times bestseller and named Best Marketing Book of 2014 by the American Marketing Association.
Hacking Growth by Sean Ellis and Morgan BrownBuy Now
Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown are two of the most influential pioneers of growth hacking, a marketing strategy that took root in Silicon Valley and refers to the rapid growth of a company. Hacking Growth is a playbook for growth hacking. The book provides an accessible, actionable toolkit that teams can use to maximize growth, customer base, and market share in a reasoned, deliberate way.
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack TroutBuy Now
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind provides marketing strategies for the modern-day world in which potential customers are skeptical, overwhelmed with information, and constantly consuming media. The goal of the book is to teach you to “position” your company, with its unique strengths and weaknesses, in customers’ minds. The book is witty and fast-paced and is appropriate for newbies and seasoned marketers alike.
Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message so Customers Will Listen by Donald MillerBuy Now
Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand draws on the seven universal powers of storytelling to teach you how to craft a brand story that will help you connect with customers and gain a competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace. Whatever your product or idea is and whoever comprises your intended audience, Building a StoryBrand will transform the way you talk about your brand and the value it brings to consumers.
Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends and Friends Into Customers by Seth GodinBuy Now
Permission Marketing details Seth Godin’s alternative marketing strategy of advertising goods and services only after getting advance consent. This contrasts with traditional marketing approaches, which center on “interrupting” potential consumers’ lives (for instance, with a television commercial). The book lays out the principles of permission marketing and how to use it in your business, and it gives examples of massively successful companies that use this strategy.
Fanocracy: Turning Fans Into Customers and Customers Into Fans by David Meerman Scott and Reiko ScottBuy Now
David Meerman Scott and Reiko Scott’s Fanocracy argues that the reason some companies succeed is that they have die-hard fans: people who are obsessed with the brand’s products, ideas, and story. The book explores the neuroscience of fandom and provides case studies from companies such as MeUndies, HubSpot, and HeadCount. Anyone who wants to leverage the power of fandom to grow a business would benefit from reading this book.
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam GrantBuy Now
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World delves into the challenges and opportunities of setting out to do something truly original, radical, and nonconformist. The book teaches you how to originate new ideas, policies, and practices without risking all of your stability, and it offers many entertaining anecdotes about how nonconformists have radically altered our world for the better.
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk! by Al Ries and Jack TroutBuy Now
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing is a compendium of best marketing practices, strategies, and rules derived from the authors’ 25 years of experience as world-renowned marketing consultants. The book provides many real-world case studies from recognizable brands and serves as a reference guide for students, professionals, and aspiring entrepreneurs.
The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business With Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies by Chet HolmesBuy Now
The Ultimate Sales Machine, written by renowned change expert Chet Holmes, argues that to improve your business, you don’t need to try dozens of different strategies. Instead, you need to focus intensively on 12 key strategies. The book coaches you how to systematically improve each problem area in your business using targeted, efficient strategies.
The 4 Best Digital Marketing Books
Digital Marketing Strategy: An Integrated Approach to Online Marketing by Simon KingsnorthBuy Now
Our top pick for digital marketing books is Digital Marketing Strategy by Simon Kingsnorth, which provides a wide range of strategies, approaches, theories, and practical case studies. Part textbook, part actionable manual, the book teaches you how to integrate digital marketing into your brand’s overall marketing strategy in a streamlined, efficient way.
Digital Marketing for Dummies by Ryan Deiss and Russ HenneberryBuy Now
Digital Marketing for Dummies is a comprehensive guide to digital marketing for beginners (“dummies”). The book provides the tools and tactics needed to modernize a marketing strategy and make the most of online marketing opportunities. Besides the information in the book, you get access to downloadable resources to continue to refine your digital marketing strategy.
Don’t Make Me Think by Steve KrugBuy Now
Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think is about human-computer interaction and web usability. The book’s central argument is that websites and other online marketplaces should enable users to find the information they want and complete their task quickly and efficiently. Short and sweet, the book was written so that an executive could read it cover to cover on a two-hour flight.
Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising by Ryan HolidayBuy Now
Growth Hacker Marketing is a marketing book for the digital world of today and tomorrow. Using Airbnb, Gmail, Facebook, and other massively successful companies as case studies, the book lays out a new marketing landscape centered online. Holiday explains the growth hacker mindset and details the new rules of engagement.
The 5 Best Content Marketing Books
Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann HandleyBuy Now
Our top pick for content marketing books is Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, which argues that now more than ever, good writing is key to growing and sustaining your business. The book provides key insights on the process and strategy of content creation, production, and publishing, and it teaches you how to write better to grow your business.
Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses by Joe PulizziBuy Now
Content Inc. teaches you how to use digital content to drive sales without pitching your product or idea. The Content Inc. strategy provides a systematic process suitable for any entrepreneur or small business owner. By implementing the book’s insights on content creation, social media sharing, and SEO, you can transform your business into an industry leader.
Stories That Stick: How Storytelling can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences, and Transform Your Business by Kindra HallBuy Now
Kindra Hall’s Stories that Stick offers actionable tools and strategies for crafting your brand narrative and communicating with customers. The book lays out four types of unique stories you can use — founder story, value story, purpose story, and customer story — and teaches you how to make the most of them to serve your business goals.
The One Hour Content Plan by Meera KothandBuy Now
The One-Hour Content Plan is geared toward solopreneurs who want to map out a year’s worth of blog posts in 60 minutes. The book is jampacked with strategies to help you come up with winning ideas and tactics that will make your content work harder for your business. The One-Hour Content Plan also teaches you how to find your brand’s voice and details the do’s and dont’s of creating great content.
Top of Mind: Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those who Matter to You by John HallBuy Now
John Hall’s Top of Mind lays out the tools and strategies you need to stay at the top of your customers’ minds. The book argues that, at its core, business is about relationships and that content marketing is one of the best ways to forge and sustain relationships with customers. Anyone from marketing leaders to up-and-coming entrepreneurs will find value in this book.
How We Picked the Best Books on Marketing
To create our list of the best marketing books, we gathered an initial list of 160 books from bestseller lists published by Wall Street Journal and The New York Times (among other online “best of” lists). We narrowed the list down to 20 based on popularity, including common recommendations and reviews on Goodreads and Reddit. We avoided picking books that are already included in other lists, such as our finance, leadership, and business picks. We also separated our list based on a few different categories: marketing strategy, digital marketing, and content marketing.