Best Startup Books on Marketing
You don't have to spend hours learning the best marketing practices on your own; you just need to learn from some of the best marketers in the industry. Below are books packed full of helpful advice and tips on how to successfully market your startup from experts with years of experience.
Also Recommended: Check out our list of the best startup books.
1. ‘This Is Marketing’ by Seth Godin
Seth Godin was an influencer in marketing before the term was even coined. Over the course of his career, he has helped shape the way we think about marketing and its role in business. In “This Is Marketing,” Godin challenges the traditional view of marketing as a numbers game. Instead, he argues that it is an act of service that requires empathy and understanding.
Marketing, according to Godin, is about finding and connecting with the people who need what you have to offer. It's not about convincing people to buy something they don't need. This book will teach you how to create a marketing strategy that is focused on helping others rather than selling to them.
2. ‘Marketing Made Simple’ by Donald Miller
Marketing can involve a ton of moving parts and tools if you overcomplicate things. Instead of getting overwhelmed, Donald Miller helps guide you through the process in “Marketing Made Simple.” The book is full of actionable tips and advice that you can use to create a marketing plan for your business.
“Marketing Made Simple” shows entrepreneurs how to identify a target market, craft an irresistible offer, and create compelling content that will drive results. Miller provides everything you need to know about marketing in a simple, easy-to-understand format.
3. ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’ by Robert Cialdini
Instead of focusing on how you can optimize your social media accounts or get ROI from your advertising spend, Robert Cialdini helps you understand how to influence people in his book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.” Cialdini is a world-renowned expert on the science of persuasion, and his book is full of fascinating insights into human behavior.
You'll learn about the six principles of influence and how you can use them to your advantage. You'll also learn how to identify and avoid being influenced by others. If you want to understand the psychology behind marketing, this book is for you.
4. ‘Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products’ by Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal has experience as a successful startup entrepreneur and has years of research and consulting practice in order to offer up actionable advice in his book, “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products.” The book provides a step-by-step guide on how to create products that people will love and use every day.
Inside, Eyal details the four elements of a habit-forming product and how you can use them to your advantage. This book is one of the most practical guides and is written to serve entrepreneurs, product managers, designers, marketers, and others who are looking to scale their startups through marketing.
5. ‘Ogilvy on Advertising’ by David Ogilvy
Perhaps one of the most well-known books on marketing in the history of the industry, “Ogilvy on Advertising” provides readers with an inside look at the man behind one of the most successful advertising agencies of all time. In the book, David Ogilvy shares his secrets to creating effective advertising campaigns.
If you want to create ads that sell and learn the ins and outs of marketing, there is no better book to do so. You'll learn about copywriting, design, research, and much more. Ogilvy gives a masterclass in marketing in this book and provides plenty of case studies and examples on what works and why it does.
Looking for more book recommendations? We asked startup founders to share their favorite books on entrepreneurship, and here's what they said.
6. ‘Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook’ by Gary Vaynerchuk
Few other marketers have made as big of an impact in the modern marketing era as Gary Vaynerchuk. In “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World,” Vaynerchuk provides a blueprint for success in social media marketing.
You'll learn how to create content that cuts through the noise and connects with your audience on a deeper level. Vaynerchuk tells it like it is and provides a clear-cut strategy to introduce your company to your market instead of trying to stuff your ideas down their throat.
7. ‘Traction’ by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares
Focusing on one of the most important elements of scaling a startup, “Traction” is all about how to acquire and scale your customer acquisition. Weinberg and Mares provide a step-by-step guide on how to go from 0 to 100,000 customers in this book.
“Traction” covers 19 different channels you can use to acquire customers and explains how you can track your progress along the way. This book is essential reading for any entrepreneur who wants to scale their startup quickly and efficiently.
8. ‘Contagious: Why Things Catch On’ by Jonah Berger
In his book, “Contagious: Why Things Catch On,” Jonah Berger explores the science behind why some products and ideas become popular while others fail. He looks at case studies of successful companies like Airbnb and Facebook to understand what made them so successful.
You'll learn about six principles that make things contagious and how you can use them to make your product or service more viral. Any entrepreneur who wants to create a successful marketing campaign and needs practical advice on how to deliver will enjoy this read.
9. ‘Everybody Writes’ by Ann Handley
Startups often feel like they don't have the skills in order to take their ideas to the next level. They get caught in a cycle of spending more and more money on agencies that promise to create marketing materials to deliver. In her book “Everybody Writes,” Ann Handley changes the narrative.
She provides a comprehensive guide on how to write effectively for the web and reinforces the idea that you've always been a writer; you just don't know it yet. You'll learn about copywriting, SEO, social media, and much more. This book is essential reading for any entrepreneur who wants to take their marketing into their own hands and create content that sells.
10. ‘Purple Cow’ by Seth Godin
It's no surprise Seth Godin appears twice on this list because of his long history of marketing excellence. In his book “Purple Cow,” Godin provides a framework for how to create products and services that are truly remarkable.
You'll learn about the importance of standing out from the competition and why being different is essential for success. This book is essential reading for any entrepreneur who wants to create a product or service that people will actually respond to.
11. ‘Epic Content Marketing’ by Joe Pulizzi
The mistake many entrepreneurs end up making is thinking that marketing is trying to change the perspective on your service or product. — that once you figure out the special sauce, you can make someone think any way you want about your company.
In “Epic Content Marketing,” Joe Pulizzi helps you understand how to draw customers in by creating content that is valuable and helpful to them. You'll learn how to position yourself as an expert in your industry and create content that will keep people coming back for more. This book focuses on any entrepreneur who wants to build a sustainable digital marketing strategy that will scale with their business.
12. ‘The New Rules of Marketing and PR’ by David Meerman Scott
As new technology and new advances in marketing continue, there is always a need to update old concepts with modern best practices. David Meerman Scott does just that in “The New Rules of Marketing and PR.”
“The New Rules” shows readers how to use the internet for marketing a product or service and why traditional marketing methods are no longer effective. You'll also learn about inbound marketing and how you can use it to draw customers to you instead of pushing them away. This book is a worthy read for any entrepreneur who wants to stay ahead of the curve and be at the forefront of modern marketing.
13. ‘Building a Storybrand’ by Donald Miller
Language is the core component of any marketing campaign, and in this book, Donald Miller shows you how to use it effectively. “Building a Storybrand” walks you through the process of creating a brand narrative that will resonate with your customers.
You'll learn about the importance of protagonists and antagonists in your story and how to create characters that people will root for. This book will help any entrepreneur who wants to create a marketing campaign that will leave a lasting impression.
14. ‘The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing’ by Al Ries and Jack Trout
It's easy to get lost in the marketing world with gurus and influencers giving you different advice left and right. In “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing,” Al Ries and Jack Trout provide a set of guidelines that you can use to cut through the noise and focus on what's important.
Among other things, “22 Immutable Laws” shows the importance of positioning and focus in your marketing strategy. Readers can also learn about the pitfalls of trying to be everything to everyone and why you need to focus on a specific target market.
15. ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
Now a common phrase, when “Blue Ocean Strategy” came out, it changed how marketers approached their craft. In the book, W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne provide a framework for how to create uncontested market space.
You'll learn about how to find new opportunities for growth and how to create a strategy that will make your competition irrelevant. This book is essential reading for any entrepreneur who wants to take their business to another level and doesn't want to get lost in the crowds.
16. ‘Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World’ by Adam Grant
Marketing isn't always about following the same trends and practices that everyone else is doing. In “Originals,” Adam Grant shows you how to be an original in your field and create something new.
Any startup can relate to the lessons about speaking up without being silenced and building a coalition of allies in “Originals.” You'll learn about the importance of taking risks and how to foster a culture of innovation in your business.
17. ‘Stories That Stick’ by Kindra Hall
Marketers are essentially storytellers that use modern tech and tools to spread their message. In “Stories That Stick,” Kindra Hall provides a framework for how to create stories that will resonate with your audience and stay with them long after they've heard them.
You'll learn about the importance of using emotion in your stories and how to make them relatable to your audience. You'll also learn about the different types of stories that you can use to achieve different objectives.
18. ‘Content Inc.’ by Joe Pulizzi
Entrepreneurs who understand how to create a sustainable system of content generation are at a huge advantage. In “Content Inc.,” Joe Pulizzi provides a step-by-step guide for how to build an audience and business by creating content that people want to consume.
Throughout the book, readers learn about the different stages of content creation and how they can use various types of content to achieve different objectives. Six steps are all you'll need to create a business-building process that will have customers always coming in through your online doors.
19. ‘Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind’ by Al Ries and Jack Trout
Al Ries is a well-known author that you might recognize from further up on this list, and in his book “Positioning,” he teams up with Jack Trout to provide a framework for how to create a dominant position in the minds of your target market.
Ries details the importance of having a USP and how to craft messaging that will resonate with your target market. This book is essential reading for any entrepreneur who wants to create a marketing campaign that will have a long-lasting effect on your market.
20. ‘Buyology’ by Martin Lindstrom
The psychology behind why people make buying decisions is often at the heart of effective marketing campaigns. In “Buyology,” Martin Lindstrom takes a deep dive into the science behind why people buy and what motivates them to do so.
“Buyology” covers the different types of triggers that you can use to get people to take action and how to craft messages that will resonate on a deeper level. Insights into the minds of over 2,000 volunteers are explored deeper in this comprehensive marketing book.
What’s your favorite marketing book? Let us know in the comments!