Top Marketing Books: Experts Recommend the Best!

Joe Pulizzi , Founder of Content Marketing Institute and Content Marketing World.  Author of 4 content marketing books (Editor’s note: many are noted on this list!), including most recently, Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses.  Here’s a free chapter of Content Inc.

Everybody Writes, Ann Handley  – So many marketers forget how important good writing actually is. This book will bring you up to speed and get you pointed in the right direction.
Experiences, by Robert Rose and Carla Johnson  – I believe this is a must read for any enterprise marketer to understand what is really going on in the marketing department of the future.
On Writing, Stephen King – A must read for anyone who rights.  Period.


Keith Quesenberry, Author of Social Media Strategy.

The Cluetrain Manifesto by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls and David Weinburger. This was one of the first significant books that addressed the core issue that markets are made up of people and that we need to talk to them like human beings.  “The Cluetrain Manifesto reminded us that marketing originated in traditional physical markets. In those open squares, ‘Markets are conversations, talk is cheap, silence is fatal.’” Social media has brought us back to those marketplaces, but now they are digital.
The Idea Virus by Seth Godin. I love this book not only because it was an early look into things going viral and presents a formula that still applies today. But I also love it because the book itself and the way Seth Godin released it was an Idea Virus and one of the most financially successful books he has written.
Data Strategy by Bernard Marr. Big Data has become such a buzz word but few still understand how to leverage it. Collecting big data and using it strategically are two very different things. Marr breaks big data down into a concise and simple to understand text. This really helped me put big data into the proper context. It is not really about collecting everything and looking for patterns. There is simply too much. He says to start with the business strategy to ask the right questions and then find the data to get the answers you are seeking.


Tor Refsland, Is an award  winning blogger.

The Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk – It teaches you to be authentic – whether online or offline, say what you mean, and mean what you say. It shows you how to listen to your audience, be transparent and over-deliver because you genuinely want to help and serve other people.
Launch, Jeff Walker – The book teaches you how to market and launch your product or services in a way that delivers a lot of value without being salesy.
Ask, Ryan Levesque. Ryan has created a great way to find out what your audience wants by asking them the right questions, then deliver what they want in the way that they want.


Adele Revella – Author of Buyer Personas

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. I heard Dr. Cialdini speak at a conference decades ago and rushed out of the room to buy his book. It is still the #1 Bestseller on consumer behavior.
Positioning, the Battle for the Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout. This is another book that has been around for decades, but it simply and clearly explains the dilemma that all marketers face on a daily basis, and why our work is never going to be as simple as it appears.


Tim Riesterer Author of The Three Value Conversations

Influence by Robert Cialdini because he really laid the groundwork for the way everyone since thinks about the psychology of persuasion.


Paul Roetzer – Author of The Marketing Performance Blueprint

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries gave me a new perspective on how to improve the operational efficiencies of our agency through the lens of a high-growth startup.
How Google Works by Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg provided a fascinating framework to assess the management and operations of our business.


Robert Rose – Co-founder of Content Marketing Institute and co-author of Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing (

The End of Competitive Advantage, Rita Gunther McGrath – This is a must-read for any marketing leader looking to reformulate a marketing operation around agility and adaptability in a fast-moving world.
Different, Youngme Moon – Maybe the best book on differentiation that I’ve read.
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, Chip Heath and Dan Heath A great set of insights on how to manage – and more importantly inspire – change in business.


Dayna Rothman – Author of Lead Generation for Dummies

Content Rules, Ann Handley

Ted Rubin – Author of Return on Relationship (with Kathryn Rose) and How to Look People in the Eye Digitally

Linchpin, Seth Godin (ALL Seth Godin books are must reads!) – Seth is simply the most brilliant marketer of this day and age.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, Gary Vaynerchuk – Because Gary is Gary.
Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, Harvey Mackay – It’s a classic about customer service and sales.


Tim Sanders – Author of Dealstorming – The Secret Weapon That Can Solve Your Toughest Sales Challenges

The Challenger Sale /The Challenger Customer by CEB’s Adamson, Dixon, et al: Sales complexity is rising, in large part to the expanded number of decision makers and influencers coming together around their business problems. Too often, “no decision” is the number one outcome of most sales attempts. To solve this, we must develop challenger sales people along with marketing tool kits that can equip challenger customers to mobilize enough resources to drive change (and sales success).
The Experience Economy by Joseph Pine & Jim Gilmore: The customer doesn’t buy a product, he or she purchases an experience that is memorable and engaging. This means we have to segment the customer experience in order to drive the best product and marketing development.
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