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  • Writer's pictureSotirios Seridis

Best 17 Strategy Books for Digital Marketers

Building a good marketing strategy is not easy. With many books written on the subject, it is sometimes hard to find the one that can help your business grow. In this article, we have compiled the best strategy books for digital marketers, all of them available digitally and in paperback form. You will find experience from renowned marketers in the form of guides, memoirs, case studies, and many formats that will help you build a solid marketing strategy.

The 17 best strategy books for marketing:

Date published: 2017

Chris Guillebeau cannot sit still. Writer of multiple bestsellers and creator of Side Hustle School (a podcast on entrepreneurship), he is a man of many talents. A connoisseur of startups and their challenges, he decided to focus his book on side hustles.

Guillebeau pushes people to pursue the dream of that small activity someone does after his/her day job so it can become their main focus. He puts on a detailed roadmap on how to do it in 27 days, with specific activities to do on each of them. More than a side income, Chris helps to convert your passion into your business.

Reviewers have praised Gillebeau’s book for how he aims to improve readers’ lives. It makes side hustles possible for anyone, combining inspiration with action. It is the perfect read for those seeking a change with a stable plan to do so.

Review Score:

Amazon: 4.5/5 (5,000+ reviews)

GoodReads: 3.7/5 (3,500+ reviews)

Author: Seth Godin

Year published: 2003 (revised edition in 2009)

A professional marketer, Seth Godin has written many books on the subject. With a background in big companies as well as his own startups, he is also an experienced lecturer. Highly regarded for his many writings on successful marketing strategies, Purple Cow is one of his fundamental reads.

Godin humorously utilizes the metaphor of the purple cow to stress the importance of standing out to succeed. He explains that it is not a matter of good promotion, but the creation of outstanding products worth marketing. There are case studies to base his ideas on, and he inspires readers to rethink what their marketing is really saying about their product.

According to critics, the author puts curiosity as marketing’s guiding light. Intuition is key for a good product and campaign, and Godin proves it in each of the 224 pages. A before and after in how marketing is conceived, Seth’s book is a popular read for anyone in the business.

Review Score:

Amazon: 4.6/5 (3,000+ reviews)

GoodReads: 3.78/5 (45,000+ reviews)

Year published: 1994

Collins and Porras are prolific educators. They both have conducted years of research on companies’ success and what drives it. Funded by prestigious universities and colleges, they decided to combine their work in 1994 to produce the classic Built to last, a singular view on what makes companies big.

With 18 examples as a basis for their study, they dissected each of them, their competitors, and their history. Their thesis is clear: “exceptional” is not magic, it is something that can be planned and achieved. Walt Disney, General Electric, Merck, Hewlett-Packard, and many more go under the microscope to understand their long-lasting success.

The authors’ 368-pager defies many myths. The first one is that only charismatic personalities can lead exceptional companies. Secondly, they try to remove all of the management buzzwords to point out the elements with proven success across time. With a solid academic approach and plain language, Built to Last is a great read to build your strategy.

Review Score:

Amazon: 4.7/5 (1,700+ reviews)

GoodReads: 4/5 (70,000+ reviews)

Author: Allan Dib

Year published: 2016

This Australian author defines himself as a serial entrepreneur. He focuses on helping businesses build their in-house marketing department and/or strategy. With more than 20 years of experience, he concocted his bestseller to continue to assist others in their growth.

Of course, as a great, his title is catchy. The 1-Page Marketing Plan is as good as it sounds, as it proposes a small but significant plan to start building your path to success. Instead of random marketing acts, Dib suggests a very simple base for you to come up with the most adequate plan for your startup or company.

Allan Dib’s technique is practical yet competitive. He explains many important lessons, such as how to approach your clients without being pushy, or how to stand out from competitors. He also focuses on maximizing results with small budgets. Every concept he develops has been praised by readers who bought this book to better understand how to stand in the business and develop their own vision.

Review Score:

Amazon: 4.7/5 (6,000+ reviews)

GoodReads: 4.3/5 (6,000+ reviews)

Author: David Ogilvy

Year published: 1963

Anyone in the advertising business knows who Ogilvy is. A legend in the industry, the Ogilvy brand is known all around the globe, with offices almost in every country. He changed the XX century and defined the terms of modern advertising.

This book is a memoir of David Ogilvy and his legacy. Not only he tells the story behind the myth but also goes behind the scenes of one of the most successful companies in advertising. In a very enticing manner, Ogilvy tells his vision of the business, his lessons learned and what made him the game-changer he was.

Translated to 14 languages since its publication in 1963, Confessions is still recognized by many as a relevant read. It goes far beyond an advertising guide. It is a must to understand work ethics, office politics, corporate management, and of course, a strategic plan that has not aged at all.

Review Score:

Amazon: 4.6/5 (550+ reviews)

GoodReads: 3.9/5 (4,900+ reviews)

Year published: 1966

Another pillar in the advertising business, Schwartz's career spanned from the 60s to the 2000s. A prolific copywriter, he led many organizations devoted to creative writing and wrote many publications on the subject.

Breakthrough Advertising centers on copywriting for a business. With a holistic approach, it is a guide for writing all kinds of texts: headlines, short/long copies, etc. But it is not just a book for those dedicated to these positions but for anyone who owns a business or is a market expert (who obviously keeps on learning about the industry).

Readers have praised how grounded this book is. There are no easy solutions or workarounds, but a deep reflection on how to do any kind of copy. Advanced copywriters can find clear steps to go through to improve their skills. Another classic that aged very well.

Review Score:

Amazon: 4.6/5 (50+ reviews)

GoodReads: 4.5/5 (750+ reviews)

Year published: 2017

Business growth is an art, and Ellis and Brown know it. Both have worked in big companies and built notable expertise on how to develop any kind of trade. They know how to drive attention to companies so they can live up to their full potential, so they decided to gather this knowledge in a book.

For this text, they explain the method called growth hacking. This methodology removes any kind of luck from the process, showing carefully crafted steps such as testing, customer focus, and cross-functional teaming. The authors go through it with the necessary detail and case studies to show that any kind of business can do it.

Reviews have been very appreciative of the book's multi-focus approach. They recognize how the book conveys the idea of cross-teaming, and some go on to say that growth hacking is the evolution of marketing in terms of strategic planning. Any reader who is struggling with growing their business should find support in this 320-pager.

Review Score:

Amazon: 4.6/5 (850+ reviews)

GoodReads: 4.1/5 (4,000+ reviews)

Author: Seth Godin

Year published: 2014

Seth Godin strikes again, this time with a fundamental yet sometimes overlooked subject: permission marketing. Business week called Seth "the ultimate entrepreneur for the Information Age". Clearly, his proactive attitude made him a prolific marketer, as he explains everything that needs to be dominated in this trade.

Permission marketing is based on the idea of offering consumers incentives to accept advertising voluntarily, in contrast to invading their personal space with unsolicited ads. The book walks you through strategies to gain the client's trust and improve your chances of making a sale.

Another hit from Godin, this one is an important step towards innovation according to critics. They say it’s a new method for measuring customer engagement and end “interruption marketing” once and for all.

Review Score:

Amazon: 4.6/5 (3,000+ reviews)

GoodReads: 3.9/5 (14,000+ reviews)

Author: Steve Krug

Year published: 2000

Steve Krug is a usability expert. Founder of Advanced Common Sense, his work focuses precisely on how this kind of thinking should lead to any kind of marketing initiative. Plus, he teaches workshops on usability to combine these two.

That’s exactly what his book is about, his experience with usability. Having worked with important institutions such as Bloomberg, Apple, NPR, Lexus, and IMF, he built 20 years+ of expertise on the subject. This helped him determine the essentials for web designers and developers and compile them in one book.

Though websites are not the same as they were in the 2000s, this text remains relevant for its principles. It understands how consumers navigate through a site and what needs to be done to provide them with a compelling experience.

Review Score:

Amazon: 4.6/5 (2,000+ reviews)

GoodReads: 4.2/5 (26,500+ reviews)

Date published: 1984 (revised edition in 2006)

Persuasion plays a great role in your advertising strategy, and Robert Cialdini is well aware of it. Psychologist, a bestseller author, and a keynote speaker, Robert has long developed the concept of pre-suasion, the previous steps that companies need to work on to produce a sale.

Long before the influencers’ social media popularity, Robert supported the act of persuasion with scientific facts. The book not only gives a wider context for the concept but also describes its ethical framework within a business and how to exercise it effectively and correctly. He breaks it into 6 points: reciprocation, commitment/consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity.

Cialdini is regarded as a New York Times bestseller writer. Anyone looking to improve their marketing and communication abilities can benefit from this reading. He translates complex science into a fun and digestible must-read.

Review Score:

Amazon: 4.6/5 (9,800+ reviews)

GoodReads: 4.2/5 (133,000+ reviews)

Year published: 2016

An age-old question, the expert consultant Nicholas Webb seeks to answer it in his popular book. To do so, he did some research during his career as an entrepreneur, award-winning inventor, best-selling author, and CEO. With such a background, he reflects on how clients choose their products in a hyper-connected economy.

The book not only centers on reflections but also tries to give tools to properly listen to customers. The result is a 256-page text on clients today, with numerous insights on how to better decipher their behavior, especially on social media, as a way to sell them the product they want.

The book has been described as a guide for lasting competitive advantage by reviewers. Its examples are useful to build a solid strategy. Plus, it has been praised for its well-concocted structure and ease of reading.

Review Score:

Amazon: 4.2/5 (100+ reviews)

GoodReads: 3.7/5 (200+ reviews)

Author: Avery Swartz

Year published: 2020

Avery’s LinkedIn profile reads “Helping non-technical people with technology”. Indeed, this experienced Canadian CEO has quite a reputation for assessing other companies in their digital marketing strategy. Plus, she has written a lot on the subject for many online publications.

This time, her book is on small businesses and how easy is to deploy your online strategy. She firmly believes no technical skills are needed, and she proves it throughout her text. She works on e-commerce, websites, SEO, social media, online advertising, and email marketing. Everything is explained in plain language, for anyone to do it by themselves.

This marketing guide has been described as comprehensive and very personal. Some critics said that readers with no technical background will feel as if they are discussing the subject with Avery Schwartz herself. It gives readers valuable lessons to feel confident and take the lead in their marketing strategy.

Review Score:

Amazon: 4.3/5 (70+ reviews)

GoodReads: 4/5 (100+ reviews)

Author: Pat Flynn

Year published: 2019

Pat Flynn marks his 2008 layoff as a Job Captain in the architecture industry as the start of his successful career. He then built many business websites and found how to earn much more with less and more intelligent efforts. Pat specializes in niches as he knows there is an easy way to stand out when properly targeting superfans.

Flynn feels that the industry sometimes looks too much at numbers and forgets the people behind them. Rather than likes and followers, superfans are the most supportive clients. Building a product for them will ensure the proper promotion and, therefore, a successful business, even if it’s for fewer people. Pat goes through the process of doing so.

A very interesting concept, Flynn’s book is ideal for any entrepreneur dedicated to content. The most recent YouTuber or high-flying CEO can benefit from this read, as their superfan audience is waiting for them to build unforgettable experiences.

Review Score:

Amazon: 4.7/5 (500+ reviews)

GoodReads: 4.2/5 (850+ reviews)

Year published: 2007

David Meerman Scott is known for his expertise in real-time tools and strategies to spread ideas and build a business. After losing his job, he realized he had a big talent for writing and conferencing. Equipped with the knowledge, he started spreading the word about how marketing and PR have changed in recent years.

With case studies and real examples, David shows how to reach out to buyers effectively. Comprehensively studying many tools, including visual ones, he gives a new perspective on how the right content can target the right people. Plus, the updated version of the book also includes information on AI and its applications in marketing.

A very useful guide, this book is valued because of its forward thinking. Readers appreciate how it not only defines current tools but also has a very practical and innovative look at what is coming. The book is written in an entertaining, inspiring, and friendly way.

Review Score:

Amazon: 4.8/5 (30+ reviews)

GoodReads: 3.8/5 (6,500+ reviews)

Author: Donald Miller

Year published: 2020

Donald Miller is the CEO of StoryBrand, a company devoted to creating a communication framework that helps people clarify their business messages. His emphasis is on storytelling as a pivotal part of a company’s success and an element worth incorporating into your strategy.

Collaborating with Dr. J.J. Peterson, Donald wrote a book on simplified marketing. They focus on how to convert interest in purchases and how to develop a sales funnel to do so. The book also talks about complementing this sales process with a well-designed website and different marketing plans that ensure you of every step you take.

Another New York Times bestseller, Marketing Made Simple has achieved critical acclaim because of its results. Readers mention how they were able to capitalize on marketing investments based on Donald’s guide. A practical approach is inherent to Miller’s work.

Review Score:

Amazon: 4.7/5 (1,600+ reviews)

GoodReads: 4.3/5 (1,700+ reviews)

Author: Donald Miller

Year published: 2017

As previously said, Miller has proven expertise in storytelling for brands. He teaches business professionals how to grow a business and improve its value in the market. This time, he compiled his knowledge on how to tell the story of your company.

Donald Miller’s book is all about engagement. True trust from customers comes from attracting their attention by telling the right story. From that, the book teaches how to create the most effective messaging for websites, brochures, and social media. With a clear strategy, this guide will never leave you speechless when talking about your brand.

Miller’s bestseller is a good read for big CEOs, marketers, and small business owners. It is well suited also for copywriters or anyone who already works in content. If you are lost on your brand strategy, Building a StoryBrand is a great place to start.

Review Score:

Amazon: 4.7/5 (1,600+ reviews)

GoodReads: 4.2/5 (16,500+ reviews)

Author: Paul Dervan

Year published: 2020

Paul Dervan’s main concern as a professional is marketing effectiveness. His 20+ years of experience come from hard work, experimentation, and trial and error. He had the chance to collaborate with top marketers in the industry, and his book compiles a lot of these inspiring experiences.

Run with Foxes is not a sugarcoated compilation. It tells both hits and misses in the industry with brutal honesty, showing how important mistakes are for the learning process. The result is this easy-to-read book to learn what works and what doesn’t in terms of marketing effectiveness.

The book has been praised for its comforting and useful tone. It’s an honest take on the industry, on how to incorporate critical thinking into the strategy. It is a great way of understanding the industry works, and what affects everyday decisions risking mistakes than can be prevented.

Review Score:

Amazon: 4.7/5 (40+ reviews)

GoodReads: 4.1/5 (30+ reviews)


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