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Marketing Success in 2023: The 10 Best Books to Transform Your Strategy and Boost Your Results

Thinking of a move into marketing or want to update your current skillset? Check out these bestselling marketing books for all the latest in this fast-paced industry.
by Rosie Allabarton | Jul 3 2023

The world of marketing seems to reinvent itself from one year to the next, with trends, social media channels, and new strategies popping up as soon as we’ve figured out the last one. But there’s never been a more important moment than now to polish your marketing chops or add them to your skillset.  

That’s because customers are hungry for clear and effective marketing to help them wade through markets oversaturated with misleading products or hollow concepts. If you’re a business leader who’s eager to better communicate their ideas or target their consumers, then it’s the perfect time to dive into marketing.

If you’re ready to learn about this field from industry veterans and people who’ve learned how to effectively invent and communicate their brands time and time again, you’ll love our selection of top books on the topic. We’ve put together the top titles that’ll help decrypt everything from content marketing to public relations, so you can realize your full marketing potential. 

New to marketing and want to learn the basics? Check out these titles: 

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

For anyone who wants to re-learn the basics of marketing, you’ll want to pick up Seth Godin’s Purple Cow. Here, the author pushes the thesis that great marketing is built on even better ideas and products. Instead of pushing products onto unsuspecting consumers, businesses and entrepreneurs should instead be focusing their efforts on creating unique and valuable products that people really want. Right now, consumers are so overwhelmed with advertising and marketing that it is extremely difficult for any single product to stand out (except purple cows, of course). 

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive, and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

 To really understand marketing, you might have to give yourself a primer on what makes good ideas first. Have you ever wondered why some ideas get enthusiastically taken on by your team while others don’t make it past the brainstorming session? In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath look at exactly why some ideas have such mass appeal and others don’t. Their research uncovers the importance of memorability, or “stickiness”: some ideas are simply more interesting and therefore stay longer in the brain than those which are more mundane, irrespective of how logical or useful they might be.

To help scale your business, learn about influencer marketing here:

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert P. Cialdini

Influence and persuasion are two key skills in any marketer’s toolkit. And they’re both intimately interlinked with human psychology. If you’re as interested in understanding why people behave the way they do as much as in how to make them behave a certain way, then this is the book for you. Written by Robert B. Cialdini PhD, who spent 35 years observing the ins and outs of manipulation, this book will reveal exactly why influencer marketing can be such a powerful marketing tool. But be warned: you may find yourself manipulating the decision-making of your peers before your 15-minute read is even up.

Brush up on your wordsmith skills and your content marketing know-how with these two books: 

Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

When it comes down to it, much of marketing is based on the written word. And that’s exactly the premise of Ann Handley’s book, which will show you the value of words in both our professional and personal lives, especially as more and more of our everyday interactions become screen-based. Using a handful of easy-to-remember tips, we learn how to create the very best content to engage and delight the reader as marketers, professionals, and individuals. Although Handley covers the basics of good grammar and the art of crafting great emails, what she reinforces, again and again, is the value of the written word in the art of acquiring and keeping loyal customers; the goal of every good marketer.

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

Joe Pulizzi has put together the ultimate guide to content marketing. In his book, the author puts the secret of a successful content marketing campaign down to great storytelling, but it’s not storytelling that focuses on the product that he claims is the most successful. Pulizzi claims that content marketing which uses storytelling to answer the specific needs of the customer is what ultimately leads to the best campaigns and higher engagement.

The customer is always right — right? Conquer your public relations skills with this book: 

Youtility: Why smart marketing is about help, not hype by Jay Baer

Many of today’s successful businesses have proven that a laser focus on customer service and satisfaction can be the selling point that differentiates a bad business from a great one. Think: Zappos, Nordstrom, or Southwest Airlines. Such businesses have made their name not just by providing a great product, but by insisting on a customer experience that goes above and beyond. Jay Baer goes against the grain of traditional marketing speak by insisting upon the value of helping customers and providing them with great products over hyping up certain goods or services for the sake of it. Looking to the long-term, Baer offers a fresh and positive approach to marketing that puts the consumer front and center.

Want to build product recognizability and make your business memorable? Become a whiz on brand marketing with these books: 

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them At Your Own Risk! by Al Ries and Jack Trout

If you’re new to brand marketing and want to know the dos and don’ts of the field, this is the marketing book for you. Renowned marketing gurus Al Ries and Jack Trout have compiled all the laws of marketing you need to know to build successful customer-acquisition campaigns. With a strong focus on human psychology using real-world examples, these two experts have got your marketing needs covered.

What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles That Separate the Best from the Rest by Denise Lee Yohn

 Many marketers see brand marketing as a nice sub-set that’s helpful, but not essential to a businesses’ bottom line. Denise Lee Yohn’s bestselling marketing book proves them wrong by describing how brand marketing pushes can elevate struggling businesses to the next level. By looking at a handful of globally successful brands, she uncovers what it is that they do so well that separates them from their competitors. A marketer’s must-read.

To learn how virality actually works and the power of social marketing, read this: 

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

 We couldn’t finish this list without a nod to Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. In anecdote after anecdote, Gladwell looks at the phenomenon of how a small scale idea, trend or even virus shared among a small group of people suddenly becomes very widespread. He discusses the importance of people who have many social ties in different social spheres, and who are therefore able to transfer ideas across whole social networks.

This list of top marketing books should hopefully serve as an excellent introduction to the field, and may even have taught you a few new tips or tricks to take to that meeting next Monday. Dive in and start your road to becoming a marketing powerhouse today! 

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