Here are 12 must-read Digital Marketing books

If you’re looking for some books to read in the new year related to the field of Marketing, this is a list that has a little of everything.

1. Faster, Smarter, Louder: Master Attention in a Noisy, Digital Market

By Aaron Agius (2019). “In Faster, Smarter, Louder, Aaron Agius and Gián Clancey share the secrets that transformed their two-person agency into a global leader in digital marketing. Through personal stories and real-world research, Aaron and Gián demonstrate that landing multimillion-dollar clients aren’t just about AdWords, SEO, and social media. To make a splash, you need to provide value, be authentic, and make human connections.”

Goodreads link here.





2. Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media

By Brittany Hennessy (2018). “Whether you’re just starting out or you’re ready for bigger campaigns, Hennessy guides you through core influencer principles. From creating content worth double tapping and using hashtags to get discovered to understanding FTC rules and delivering metrics, she’ll show you how to elevate your profile, embrace your edge, and make money–all while doing what you love.”

Goodreads link here.




3. The Social Organism: A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life

By Oliver Luckett and Michael J Casey (2016). “In The Social Organism, Luckett and Casey offer a revolutionary theory: social networks — to an astonishing degree — mimic the rules and functions of biological life. In sharing and replicating packets of information known as memes, the world’s social media users are facilitating an evolutionary process just like the transfer of genetic information in living things. Memes are the basic building blocks of our culture, our social DNA. To master social media — and to make online content that impacts the world — you must start with the Social Organism.”    

Goodreads link here.



4. This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See

By Seth Godin (2018). “This book teaches you how to identify your smallest viable audience; draw on the right signals and signs to position your offering; build trust and permission with your target market; speak to the narratives your audience tells themselves about status, affiliation, and dominance; spot opportunities to create and release tension, and give people the tools to achieve their goals. It’s time for marketers to stop lying, spamming, and feeling guilty about their work. It’s time to stop confusing social media metrics with true connections. It’s time to stop wasting money on stolen attention that won’t pay off in the long run. This is Marketing offers a better approach that will still apply for decades to come, no matter how the tactics of marketing continue to evolve.”

Goodreads link here.

5. Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising

By Ryan Holiday  (2014). “Gmail, Facebook, AirBnb, Evernote. A new generation of multibillion-dollar brands have been built without spending a dime on traditional marketing techniques. No press releases, no PR firm, and no billboards in Times Square. It wasn’t luck that took them from tiny start-ups to massive success. They have a new strategy, called Growth Hacking. And it works. In this e-special, bestselling author Ryan Holiday shows how the marketing game has changed forever. He explains the growth hacker mindset and provides a new set of rules—critical information whether you’re an aspiring marketer, an entrepreneur, or a Fortune 500 senior executive.”

Goodreads link here.

6. Contagious: Why Things Catch On

By Jonah Berger (2016).Contagious combines groundbreaking research with powerful stories. Learn how a luxury steakhouse found popularity through the lowly cheese-steak, why anti-drug commercials might have actually increased drug use, and why more than 200 million consumers shared a video about one of the seemingly most boring products there is: a blender. If you’ve wondered why certain stories get shared, e-mails get forwarded, or videos go viral, Contagious explains why, and shows how to leverage these concepts to craft contagious content. This book provides a set of specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread – for designing messages, advertisements, and information that people will share. Whether you’re a manager at a big company, a small business owner trying to boost awareness, a politician running for office, or a health official trying to get the word out, Contagious will show you how to make your product or idea catch on.

Goodreads link here.

7. Hit Makers: How to Succeed in the Age of Distraction

By Derek Thompson (2018). “In his groundbreaking investigation, Atlantic senior editor Derek Thompson uncovers the hidden psychology of why we like what we like and reveals the economics of cultural markets that invisibly shape our lives. Shattering the sentimental myths of hit-making that dominate pop culture and business, Thompson shows quality is insufficient for success, nobody has “good taste,” and some of the most popular products in history were one bad break away from utter failure. It may be a new world, but there are some enduring truths to what audiences and consumers want. People love a familiar surprise: a product that is bold, yet sneakily recognizable. ”  

Goodreads link here.



8. Digital Marketing Strategy: An Integrated Approach to Online Marketing

By Simon Kingsnorth (2019). “Digital and social media are essential aspects of a marketing department’s function; therefore, it is important that they are integrated into the organization’s wider goals. Uniting digital marketing techniques with business strategy and established marketing models such as the 7 P’s, Porter’s Five Forces, and Customer Lifetime Value, author Simon Kingsnorth demonstrates how to formulate the best strategy for a company. Rather than presenting a “one size fits all” model, Kingsnorth brings various strategies to life through case studies, charts, illustrations, and checklists. Digital Marketing Strategy covers what digital marketing is, how to budget and forecast, acquisition, personalization, customer service, user experience, content strategy, how to analyze and perform social measurements, and how to structure and present a digital marketing plan in order to win support and funding.”

Goodreads link here.


9. Inbound Marketing: Attract, Engage and Delight Customers Online

By Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah (2014). “Attract, engage, and delight customers online: Inbound Marketing: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online “is a comprehensive guide to increasing online visibility and engagement. Written by top marketing and startup bloggers, the book contains the latest information about customer behavior and preferred digital experiences. From the latest insights on lead nurturing and visual marketing to advice on producing remarkable content by building tools, readers will gain the information they need to transform their marketing online.With outbound marketing methods becoming less effective, the time to embrace inbound marketing is now.”  

Goodreads link here.

10. Becoming a Digital Marketer: Gaining the Hard and Soft Skills for a Tech-Driven Marketing Career 

By Gil and Anya Gildner (2019).In the rapid world of marketing, fresh graduates and traditional marketers alike are learning that the industry is blending technology at a pace never seen before. It’s no longer enough to be a specialist: in today’s tech-driven industry, you’ve got to be able to build websites, install analytics, run pay-per-click campaigns, join Twitter chats, understand SEO strategy, and experience the underrated power of email marketing. In Part 1, you’ll learn the hard skills crucial to a marketing career, like organic search (SEO), paid advertising (PPC), social media marketing, reporting & analytics, and email marketing. In Part 2, you’ll read about the soft skills essential to business, like writing emails, getting an entry-level position, working as a marketing freelancer, starting your marketing agency, and how to work remotely.”

Goodreads link here.

11. Performance Partnerships: The Checkered Past, Changing Present and Exciting Future of Affiliate Marketing 

By Robert Glazer (2017). “The term affiliate marketing has been misunderstood and underestimated since its inception. At its core, affiliate marketing represents something overwhelmingly positive: paying only for marketing that delivers actual, quantifiable results. Robert Glazer, a leader in the affiliate marketing industry for over a decade, draws upon his experience and insights gathered from influential marketers to examine a rapidly changing field. Performance Partnerships is the first in-depth look at the performance (affiliate) marketing industry. Examining its roots and evolution, this book offers a better understanding of its impact as a vital form of direct-to-consumer digital marketing and advice on how it can be used to change marketing and business development practices.”

Goodreads link here.

12. Top of Mind: Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter To You

By John Hall (2017). “What do many successful businesses and leaders have in common? They’re the first names that come to mind when people think about their particular industries. How do you achieve this level of trust that influences people to think of you in the right way at the right time? By developing habits and strategies that focus on engaging your audience, creating meaningful relationships, and delivering value consistently, day in and day out. It’s the winning approach John Hall used to build Influence & Co. into one of “America’s Most Promising Companies,” according to Forbes. In this step-by-step guide, he shows you how to use content to keep your brand front and center in the minds of decision-makers who matter.”



Goodreads link here.



Mike Nicholson

I've spent my career working in a variety of Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Public Affairs, Information Operations, and Executive Outreach positions. With a history of planning, preparing, executing, and assessing communication strategies in the U.S. and abroad, I use this site to write, think and share lessons learned on organizational communications.

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