Must Read Books for Marketing Mavens (or Mavens in Training)

You have likely heard the saying “knowledge is power.” I am a firm believer in it! There is a sense of power and confidence I get when I read a good business or marketing book that I just never seem to get from reading an article online or watching a webinar. While articles and webinars can be great resources for learning, there’s nothing like getting an education the “old fashioned way” – from a book. The following books have helped me become the marketer I am today and highly recommend adding them to your reading list.

Inbound Marketing: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online

by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah

The original version of this was quite possibly the first marketing book I read after college. It’s a good book for beginners as it breaks down how to create content and get it found online. In addition, it covers some social media techniques from how to get followers on Facebook to how to track your social media marketing efforts.

New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott

Even if you are a seasoned PR and marketing professional, you are bound to learn something new from this book. It offers insight on what used to work and what’s working now in the industries. My favorite chapter of the book is chapter four. Many people think they can just dive into social media, write some posts, upload a few photos and just like that, get sales from social. This book gives those believers a reality check helping them to understand that social media is about building relationships.

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

If you’ve been in the marketing industry for a bit, the name Ann Handley might (and should) sound familiar to you. Handley is one of the top influencers in the marketing world famously known for her work with MarketingProfs. This book guided me toward taking my content to the next level. It’s a good read for marketers at all levels. Even if your marketing job does not specifically require you to create blog posts or social media content, you still need to be a good writer and Handley helps teach you how.

Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen

This book is for anyone who manages social media accounts for a living. Kerpen advises what social media can and cannot do, how to really listen to your followers, how to reach the right people, and more. My biggest takeaways from this book came when Kerpen spoke to creating useful content urging marketers to ask themselves:

  • Will the recipients of this message truly find it of value, or will they find it annoying?
  • Would I want to receive this message as a consumer?

For even more insight on how to get your brand to be ‘likable’ on social media, add Likeable Social Media to your reading list.

Decoding the New Consumer Mind: How and Why We Shop and Buy with Kit Yarrow

This is not a marketing book per say, but every good marketer knows that understanding the target audience of the brand they’re selling is key to success. The book outlines what motivates consumers to pay attention to brands and move from prospect status to customer status, outlining three cultural shifts and four marketing strategies to meet them. The strategies are more advanced but not impossible to put in place. If you are a seasoned marketer who has been doing things the same way for a long time, this book will give you some insight into why those strategies are no longer ideal for optimal performance.

If you do decide to pick up any of these books, be sure to let me know what you think of them. I can be reached at or on Twitter at @MarisaASan.

Marisa Sanfilippo is a journalist turned award-winning marketing professional who has more than six years experience developing and executing marketing campaigns for small and medium sized businesses. Her work has been featured on Huffington Post, Social Media Today,, Patch, and other publications.