The Best 17 books on Marketing

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What are the best books in marketing?

Today, Marketing is a pretty big spectrum of disciplines. Most outsiders to marketing associate it with advertising, which is understandable - it has been the most prominent discipline for a long while. However, as a marketer you are in charge of the Marketing Mix or what is also known as the 7P’s which is made up of Product, Price, Place, People, Physical Environment, Process, and Promotion. So as a marketing generalist you need to have knowledge within all these areas. Under these areas are different disciplines e.g. advertising is under promotion.

Here are some of the books I personally recommend within marketing.

1. 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

This is probably one of the most recommended books within marketing, and it is hold in high regard by many start-up founders, corporate CEOs and CMOs around the world. It covers the most important aspects of great marketing.

2. Marketing Management

This book is university curriculum, but it will teach you the basics of what you need to know before you get started. Kotler himself warn that these theories and models should be understood as guidelines and not law. As with anything else, take what you can use and leave the rest.

3. Trust me, I'm Lying

This is the most important PR handbook you never saw on your business school curriculum. It makes up with the outdated academic approach to public relations and offers you insight into how you make PR work in practice. However, it is mostly relevant in the US, as blogging never became as big in Europe.

4. Contagious

How do things spread? A lot of people have tried to attack the phenomenon of vitality, but no one have come as close to a scientific answer than Jonah Berger and his team. Just as with Good to Great, he and his team gathered data and concluded based on the results of their analysis. It offers six principles that make things spread.

5. Groundswell

Social Media Technologies have transformed the way companies and consumers think about marketing. This is the book you need to understand how these things what, how social trend occur, and how to take advantage of them.

6. Start with Why

What makes Apple different from their competitors? It is the way they think. This book gave new life to old and dusty vision statement, and have served as an inspiration to business leaders since it was first published

7. Hooked

This books approaches a less known area of marketing: product design. The best product doesn't need advertising, because they sell themselves. This book will teach you how to build marketing into your product.

8. Permission Marketing

For a long time, the whole idea have been to push products and services down consumers throats. But the environment is changing and consumers become more and more accustomed to choose that they want to be exposed to. Permission Marketing investigates how you can survive in the future by asking for permission, rather than just pushing.

9. The Thank You Economy

This is Gary Vee's take on the same thing. It zones in on the fact that consumer today (more than ever before) crave authenticity, originality, creativity, and honesty. 

10. Influence

Influence is one of the most renowned popular books on consumer marketing (even though it wasn't written entirely for that purpose). It tackles some of the most common cognitive fallacies and human biases, which marketers take advantage of every day.

11. Nudge

Behavioral Design is increasingly becoming a marketers job as the job expands to webdesign, store design and marketing flows. Nudging is polite, subtle indicators for our subconscious mind, pushing us in the right direction without us even noticing. 

12. Blue Ocean Strategy

The bible of differentiation. Rarely has a book become common knowledge the way this have. People who haven't read the book, can still talk about it at length, because differentiation in marketing have become a cornerstone of the discipline.

13. How Brands Become Icons

This book is originally a ph.d. thesis, and it is a little forced around the edges due to what seems to be a confirmation bias and suffers a bit from a deterministic view, but the point is valid nonetheless. He dissect the structure of which some of the biggest brand in history e.g. Coca-Cola, Volkswagen, Mountain Dew, Corona, Budweiser etc. through a long period of time.

14. Small Data

This is the most entertaining book you will find on how to conduct ethnographic research for consumer behavior. It is about how you connect your consumers behavior to trends to build brands and businesses on.

15. Scientific Advertising

You would probably not believe it, but the man who are the best candidate to teach you about how to track performance and manage your data to conclude findings of your marketing effort, was born in 1866. Hopkins wrote this book in 1923. He tracked performance vigorously, without internet. He is also credited for inventing the toothpaste marketing we still use today.

16. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

Many of the practicalities of this book is already outdated, even though it was published in 2013. That is how fast things are moving now. But the mindset behind it, rings ever louder. So read it for the strategic mindset of social media marketing.

17. Growth Hacker Marketing

If you are not in marketing, you probably don’t know that there have been a a tectonic paradigm shift in recent years. Old Madmen agencies have been force to become more agile and cost effective, and smaller agencies (sometimes not even agencies but start-up engineers) have made brands like Über, Airbnb, and Facebook. That is what this book is about.

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If you like this article, check out some of the other book stacks ☕

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