Email Marketing is not dead! Try Probaho, a homegrown ESP from Bangladesh ▶ Join Now

20 Best Marketing Books to Read in 2020

With high expectations and lots of promises - 2020 is almost here! It’s time we start making resolutions in an attempt to live life to the fullest. 

To build a better future together - we need to join hands, share more knowledge and help each other in any way we can. Hence, I want to share with you the best books I have come across over the years, hoping these will help to make the year more productive.

This will be a three-part series. Today I will write a list and a very short review of 20 marketing books that will help to level-up your marketing strategy. Next, I will be listing 20 Business Books and 20 Personal Development Books which can have a great impact on your mindset.

You can check out my previous book reviews on Future Startup: Deep Work and Lean Startup.

Improve your marketing strategy with an insightful book!

Behind every effective marketing strategy - there lies hard work, innovative thinking, and in-depth knowledge.

Knowledge doesn’t just appear out of thin air. It comes from a wide variety of sources. A good book contains years of research, learning, and experience of the author, and this is a great and valuable source of knowledge. 

The following marketing books will give you a brief look at what each book is about and tells you exactly why you need to read it as soon as possible!

1. Ogilvy on Advertising

David Ogilvy is the wizard of marketing. The timeless lesson shared by the legend himself in this classic book is worth in gold. Every marketing student and professional can be benefited from the principles “The Father of Marketing” has shared with us. A must-read.

2. Hacking Growth: How Today's Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success

The ultimate playbook of growth hacking - from none other than Sean Ellis, who first coined the term ‘Growth Hacking’. This is a must-read for any modern-day marketers, especially digital marketers, business strategists, product managers, and entrepreneurs. Personally I am very much into growth hacking nowadays, and Sean shared tons of tactics and examples from companies like Dropbox, Airbnb, Netflix, Uber, Facebook, Amazon, etc. Get your hand on it and implement the growth hacking framework in your company to open the door of exponential growth!

3. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

Want to learn the seven universal elements of powerful stories that can dramatically improve your communication with customers? I have been able to dissect every blockbuster movie, every engaging storybook, and every winning commercial since I have read this book. The ideas shared here can completely change your marketing communication and will help you to become a better storyteller.

4. Launch: An Internet Millionaire's Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams

Ever wondered why Steve Jobs arranged those iconic apple products unveiling events? How Hollywood movies create huge buzz before even getting released? Jeff Walker explained the underground process for launching new products and businesses with unprecedented success. Read the book. Launch!

4. DotCom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online

This is a real gem. This is kind of a one in a lifetime book your read that can completely change your business. I am normally skeptical about things that contain the word ‘secret’, cause most of the time those turn out to be a scam or kinda clickbait. But DocCom Secrets goes deep into how to build marketing funnels and sales scripts that can turn on the exponential growth switch in your business.

5. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

There are laws of nature, so why shouldn't there be laws of marketing? Al Ries and Jack Trout - the world-renowned marketing consultants offered a compendium of 22 innovative rules for understanding and succeeding in the marketplace. Violate them at your own risk!

6. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World

Well, the name of the book itself - hooked me! And Gary Vaynerchuk is a true star in social media marketing. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is a blueprint to social media marketing strategies that really work. 

7. The Copywriter's Handbook, Third Edition: A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Copy That Sells

This is a book for everyone who writes or approves copy: marketers, copywriters, creative directors, freelance writers, entrepreneurs and brand managers. It reveals dozens of copywriting techniques that can help you write ads and commercials that are clear, persuasive, and get more attention - and sell more products.

8. Ca$hvertising: How to Use More Than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone

Prepare yourself for a unique learning experience as author Drew teaches you the specific psychological techniques that today's top copywriters and designers use to influence the masses... and how you can use them to rapidly increase your sales, no matter what you sell. There are dozens of well-guarded secrets the writer shared in this book. It’s one of the most powerful advertising toolkits I've ever seen. It gives you instant access to hundreds of proven techniques and priceless psychological insights.

9. E-commerce Get It Right! Step by Step Ecommerce Guide for Selling & Marketing Products Online. Insider Secrets, Key Strategies & Practical Tips, Simplified for Your Startup & Small Business

I felt like discovering a gold mine when I first found and read this book back in 2013. 

We were just planning to start an ecommerce business, getting inspired by Amazon and Zappos, but couldn’t get much solid info to start. Remember, that was the time when there were very few ecommerce in Bangladesh. ClickBD was dying, Bikroy just launched. Courier or Pathao still wasn't born, and delivery was a nightmare. Building an ecommerce website was not as easy as it is now. In the last few years, many great books have been written on a similar topic and some more in-depth strategic ones. But this one will always remain close to my heart, and it still can provide immense value who wants to learn.

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

Though Sean Ellis coined the term Growth Hacking first, it was Ryan Holiday who wrote the book to introduce Growth Hacking on a broader aspect. If you are passionate about growth hacking, this is one of the two books you should read on the topic. Where Sean’s book talks about the framework and works as a playbook, this one is mostly focused on the mindset shift and think like a growth hacker as individual and company.

11. Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less

Content is King - Yap, we know. But still, most of the companies in Bangladesh are constantly failing to utilize the full potential of content! I see lots of startups burning heavily giving nonsensical discounts only and completely relying on buying one time customers without having any sales funnel or value ladder. Instead, companies should actually focus on creating a healthy conversational relationship with prospects and provide value through forms of content. Founder of Content Marketing Institute, Joe Pulizzi, a real expert in the field - has shared actionable steps and lots of insights to integrate content into your marketing efforts.

12. Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs

Written by HubSpot founders - this is a primer on Inbound Marketing. The book contains the tools and strategies you need to improve your google search ranking, building a blog to provide value, nurturing a social media community, analyzing the online marketing efforts and so on. It also talks about Funnel which is the core sales and digital marketing strategy used by all the successful internet companies in the world.

13. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

There are good books. And then there are great books! Some books give you the tools, strategies, practical examples to work on. And some book gives you PHILOSOPHY. The pearls of wisdom spread throughout every page of this book will help you to become a better version of yourself.

14. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

You are either remarkable, or you are invisible. Seth Godin is a legendary figure in the marketing pantheon, and this book clearly articulates how to stand out in the crowded marketplace. A thought-provoking book from the guru. 

15. Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

This book is mainly for programmers and designers, but still, I can’t stop adding this in my list here. In the world of growth hacking, the product itself is very much part of marketing. Usability guru, Steve Krug guides to help understand the principles of intuitive navigation and information design. Witty, commonsensical, and eminently practical, it’s one of the best-loved and most recommended books on the subject.

16. Likable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (& Other Social Networks)

This is a nice book for small and medium businesses, especially those who are just starting. Gives tons of examples of how to engage with potential customers through social media and become a likable brand!

17. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Keeping users on your app, engaging them continuously, retaining again and again - the product managers’ Dream! This book lays down a Hook model, explained how viral loops are formed and so on. If you are working on the next big app, this is an excellent read.

18. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Marketing is more than creating a campaign, writing some copy or designing a visual element. Marketing is about perception, a battle of the mind. Tapping your TG’s mind with an appropriate message is the secret sauce of your marketing initiatives. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the seminal expert in the field of influence and persuasion, and Influence is the classic book that explains the psychology of why people say yes!

19. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Your marketing bookshelf is never complete without a book from Malcolm Gladwell, the award-winning writer, and perennial best-selling author. The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Discover Malcolm Gladwell's breakthrough ideas and explore the science behind viral trends in business, marketing, and human behavior.


20. Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time

Ok, this is not a fully marketing book, it’s all about networking. I am including this as a bonus mention cause networking is a crucial skill we need to master in today’s high paced digital world. The author of this book himself has built his career in marketing and served as CEO in the number of companies. This book contains immensely useful tips who have similar professional backgrounds. I hope it will help improve collaboration with successful people inside and outside your industry and thus learn and engineer maximum success into every decision and every action you take.

Get Reading, Marketers!

Surely, there are lots of more marketing and sales books out there, and more are coming. But with this list, I assure your time will be well spent on the best of the best.

If you can’t find a book you want to read or want to discuss a book, feel free to reach out to me via LinkedIn or email. I will be really glad to help, anytime!

Think you know a book I should include in this list? Please let me know as well, will try to compile another list out of the suggestions, and would love to read from your recommendation.

Mark Anupom Mollick is an experienced Software Engineer, MarTech & Business Strategy Consultant. Currently, he is also a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) Candidate in IBA (DU), where his research areas are Startups and Growth Hacking. Anupom is a strong believer of maximizing output, achieving geometric growth and continuously improving performance. Feel free to reach him at [email protected] or contact via LinkedIn.

In-depth business & tech coverage from Dhaka

Stories exclusively available at FS

About FS

Contact Us