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Best Books on Marketing and Branding to Take Your Business to the Next Level

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If you’re looking to take your marketing game to the next level, reading the best marketing books can be an excellent way to gain insights, learn new strategies, and stay up to date with the latest trends in the industry. Sure, you can browse all day on social media and search for articles and white papers on search engines. But there’s something about sitting down with a book–even via your favorite e-reader–that helps you go deeper and absorb more information. 

One way to stay current with new marketing books is to follow reputable marketing blogs, websites, and social media accounts. These sources will often share information about new and upcoming marketing books. You can also subscribe to newsletters from marketing publishers and authors, as they often announce new releases and offer exclusive content. Another way to stay up-to-date with the latest marketing books is to attend marketing conferences and events. These events often feature keynote speakers who are experts in the field, and they may share insights into new and upcoming marketing books.

Remember, the marketing industry is constantly evolving, and there are always new books and resources being released. By staying engaged with the latest marketing news and trends, you can be sure to find the best marketing books for your needs.

So get out your library card, head to your favorite local bookstore, or fill up your online shopping cart. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best marketing books to help you improve your marketing skills and drive more success for your business.

Best Books on Marketing

“Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini 

This book explores the science of influence and persuasion, providing practical insights into how to persuade others to take a desired action. The book covers six key principles of influence:

Cover image of Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion by Robert. B Cialdini, one of the best books on marketing.
We’re gonna let you finish, but Robert Cialdini’s “Influence” is one of the all-time best books on marketing.
  1. Reciprocity: People are more likely to give back to those who have given to them first.
  2. Social Proof: People are more likely to follow the lead of others similar to themselves.
  3. Consistency: People are more likely to stay committed to a decision if they have publicly committed to it.
  4. Authority: People are more likely to follow the lead of someone they view as an authority figure.
  5. Liking: People are more likely to be persuaded by those they like and find appealing.
  6. Scarcity: People are more likely to want something if they believe it is in short supply or scarce.

Cialdini provides numerous examples of how these principles work in everyday life, including in sales, advertising, and politics. He also offers practical advice on how to use these principles ethically and effectively to influence others. It’s a classic marketing book that is still highly relevant today.

“Contagious: Why Things Catch On” by Jonah Berger

This book examines the social factors that drive the spread of ideas, products, and messages, providing insights into how to create marketing campaigns that are more likely to go viral. It’s a must-read for anyone looking to improve their social media marketing skills. Berger outlines six key principles that make things contagious:

Cover image of Contagious by Jonah Berger, one of the best books on marketing. Illustration shows a light bulb merged with a dandelion cap.
If only lead generation were contagious…
  1. Social Currency: People share things that make them look good to others.
  2. Triggers: People talk about things that are top of mind or easily triggered by their environment.
  3. Emotion: People share things that evoke strong emotions.
  4. Public: People are influenced by what they see others doing in public.
  5. Practical Value: People share things that have practical value or offer a solution to a problem.
  6. Stories: People are more likely to share information if it is presented as a story.

Berger provides numerous examples of how these principles have been used in successful marketing campaigns and how they can be applied to make any idea or product contagious. He also emphasizes the importance of creating content that is shareable and focuses on the needs and desires of the audience.

“Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind” by Al Ries and Jack Trout 

This classic marketing book offers a framework for creating a unique brand identity and positioning it in the minds of consumers.

The authors argue that in a crowded marketplace, it is essential to create a unique selling proposition that sets a product or brand apart from its competitors. They emphasize the importance of simplicity, consistency, and focus in creating a strong position, and provide numerous examples of successful positioning strategies from history, used by companies like Coca-Cola, Xerox, and IBM.

The book also covers the concept of brand extensions and the risks of overextending a brand, as well as the importance of understanding the customer’s perspective when creating a positioning strategy. It’s a great resource for anyone looking to develop a strong brand strategy.

“The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” by Al Ries and Jack Trout

Cover image for one of the best books on marketing, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout
22 “immutable” marketing laws. Not included: You will always have 50% less budget than you need.

This classic book outlines twenty-two rules or principles that are essential for successful marketing. The authors argue that these laws are unchanging and universal, and that companies that follow them are more likely to succeed in the long run.

Some of the laws covered in the book include:

  1. The Law of Leadership: It’s better to be first in a market than it is to be better.
  2. The Law of the Category: If you can’t be first in a category, create a new one.
  3. The Law of the Mind: It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.
  4. The Law of Perception: Marketing is not a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions.
  5. The Law of Focus: The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect’s mind.

The authors provide numerous examples of successful and unsuccessful marketing campaigns to illustrate each law and explain how they can be applied in different situations. They also emphasize the importance of simplicity, consistency, and clarity in marketing messages, and the need for companies to be willing to take risks and innovate in order to stay ahead of the competition.

“Building a StoryBrand” by Donald Miller 

Cover image for Building a Story Brand, one of the best books on marketing, including an illustration of a megaphone.
“What’s your story?” If your brand can’t answer, pick up a copy of this one.

This book provides a step-by-step guide to creating a clear and compelling brand story that resonates with your target audience and drives business results. Miller argues that customers are drawn to stories that are clear, concise, and relevant to their lives, and that businesses can use storytelling to create a strong and memorable brand message.

The book outlines a seven-step process for creating a compelling brand story, including identifying the customer’s problem, positioning the brand as the guide, and providing a clear call to action. Miller emphasizes the importance of simplicity, clarity, and consistency in brand messaging, and provides numerous examples of successful brand stories to illustrate his points.

In addition to the seven-step framework, the book also covers other topics related to branding and marketing, such as the importance of customer personas, the role of empathy in storytelling, and the need to focus on the customer’s needs rather than the company’s features.

Best Books on Digital Marketing and Social Media

“Digital Marketing Excellence: Planning, Optimizing and Integrating Online Marketing” by Dave Chaffey and PR Smith 

Cover image of Digital Marketing Excellence by Dave Chaffey and PR Smith, one of the best books on digital marketing and social media
This comprehensive guide is one of the best books on digital marketing.

This comprehensive and practical guide to digital marketing strategies and tactics is suitable for both beginners and experienced marketers. The book provides a solid foundation for understanding digital marketing and developing effective online marketing campaigns that drive business results.

The authors cover a wide range of topics related to online marketing, including website design and development, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), social media marketing, email marketing, and analytics.

The book emphasizes the importance of developing a clear digital marketing strategy that aligns with business goals and objectives, and provides a step-by-step process for creating a comprehensive digital marketing plan. The authors also stress the need for integration between different digital marketing channels in order to create a cohesive and effective marketing campaign.

In addition to the strategic planning process, the book also provides practical advice and guidance on the implementation of different digital marketing tactics. The authors provide numerous examples and case studies to illustrate the concepts discussed in the book, and provide detailed instructions for measuring and analyzing the effectiveness of different digital marketing campaigns.

“Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World” by Gary Vaynerchuk 

Cover image for one of the best books on digital marketing and social media, Jab Jab Jab Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
Even as social media platforms come and go, this book’s approach stands the test of time.

You may know Vaynerchuk from his social media presence. (You’d hope a social media expert like him would have a strong one). Vaynerchuk’s book, in refreshingly accessible language, provides a framework for creating effective social media marketing campaigns. The title of the book is derived from the concept of “jabbing” with valuable content on social media platforms, and then delivering the “right hook” of a promotional message when the time is right. Jab, Jab, Jab covers a wide range of topics related to social media marketing. Topics include: the importance of understanding the unique characteristics of different social media platforms, the need for storytelling and emotional connection in social media content, and the importance of measuring and analyzing the effectiveness of social media campaigns.

Vaynerchuk says marketers need to create content tailored to the unique strengths and limitations of each social media platform. He provides lots of examples of successful social media campaigns to illustrate his points. He also stresses the importance of engaging with customers and building relationships through social media, rather than simply using it as a promotional tool.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is a practical and actionable guide for marketers looking to create effective social media marketing campaigns, emphasizing the importance of storytelling, emotional connection, and relationship-building in social media content.

“Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less” by Joe Pulizzi

Cover image of one of the best books on digital marketing and social media, Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi
Content marketing tips from a long time ago in a galaxy far away.

Pulizzi provides a comprehensive guide for businesses looking to create and execute successful content marketing strategies. The book emphasizes the importance of creating high-quality, valuable content that meets the needs of your target audience. Pulizzi argues that by creating “epic” content that is both informative and entertaining, businesses can break through the clutter of traditional advertising and win over customers.

Throughout the book, Pulizzi provides numerous examples of successful content marketing campaigns, and provides practical advice for businesses looking to get started with content marketing. He covers topics such as identifying your target audience, developing a content strategy, creating a content calendar, and measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns. Epic Content Marketing provides practical advice and examples that can help businesses of all sizes develop and execute successful content marketing strategies.

“Conversion Optimization: The Art and Science of Converting Prospects to Customers” by Khalid Saleh and Ayat Shukairy 

Saleh and Shukairy focus on the art and science of turning website visitors into paying customers. Conversion Optimization covers topics such as user experience, persuasive design, copywriting, and testing and analytics.

 Throughout the book, Saleh and Shukairy emphasize the importance of understanding your target audience and tailoring your approach to their needs and preferences. They also provide numerous case studies and examples of successful conversion optimization strategies, which can serve as inspiration for businesses looking to improve their conversion rates. The book provides practical advice and actionable strategies that can help businesses of all sizes optimize their websites to improve conversion rates and drive more sales.

“The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users” by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick 

Cover image for one of the best books on digital marketing and social media, The Art of Social Media by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick
It’s not just a science. Social media can be an art, too.

This practical guide to using social media for business and personal branding purposes covers a wide range of social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It provides tips and strategies for building a strong social media presence, increasing engagement with your audience, and using social media to drive traffic to your website.

Kawasaki and Fitzpatrick emphasize the importance of creating valuable and shareable content, and leveraging the power of social media to build relationships with customers and prospects. In addition to practical tips and strategies, the book also includes numerous case studies and examples of successful social media campaigns, as well as insights from industry experts.

These are just a few examples of the best marketing books out there. By reading these books, you can gain insights into how to create compelling marketing campaigns, develop a strong brand identity, and optimize your digital marketing efforts.

Books are great and all, but are you looking for something you can read and digest a little quicker? Check out Act-On’s ebook, The B2B Perspective on Multichannel Marketing.

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