10 Marketing Books You Can’t Live Without

If you were marooned on a desert island, with only marketing books to read, which would you want with you?

Our Book Editorial Team here at Small Business Trends recently reflected on that very question.

If you had room for just 10 marketing books in your survival kit for that desert island, the 10 books below would be a good start.  Inside these choices you will come to understand how prospects and customers think, and what influences them. You will be able to find and identify a profitable niche, create a product mix, price it and ultimately promote it profitably.  Check out our picks of the top books about marketing below (in no particular order):

Brandwashed“Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy”by Martin Lindstrom

If you read Lindstrom’s first book, Buyology then Brandwashed will give you more inspirational examples that you’ll be able to adapt and implement even if you’re a small business without a multi-million dollar budget to test your customers’ brains. Lindstrom takes us behind-the-scenes of big brands’ war rooms and shows how they use nostalgia, fear, peer pressure, celebrity, and the inclusion of magical ingredients and elixirs to influence what we buy.

Read our review of “Brandwashed.” (Or get at Amazon)

Riches in Niches

“Riches in Niches: How to Get Rich in Your Niche” by Susan A. Friedman

Finding a tight market niche where you and your business stand out is, by far, the most challenging aspect of marketing for most people. You may not have heard of Riches in Niches, but it’s the go-to book that marketing experts give their clients when the subject turns to how to find a profitable market niche.

Susan Friedman coins the terms “nichepreneur” and guides business owners through her GEL formula Friedmann’s proven technique that shows service professionals how to find the professional niche that makes the best use of their skills while yielding maximum profit.

Get “Riches in Nichesat Amazon.

Neromarketing“Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer’s Brain” by Patrick Renvoise , Christophe Morin

Now that it’s scientifically proven that we make our buying decisions using our primitive brain, this marketing book will help you put that knowledge to use and start writing better sales and marketing ads and copy. Renvoise and Morin cover big picture communication principles and tips on details as small as leaving a voice mail message.

In short, the marketing advice covered says to appeal to emotion, present information in a variety of media, be brief, tell stories and approach your marketing from a buyers point of view.

Get “Neuromarketingat Amazon

Visual Marketing“Visual Marketing: 99 Proven Ways for Small Businesses to Market with Image and Design” by David Langton and Anita Campbell

If you’ve ever found yourself without a good marketing idea or concept for your small business, this is the marketing book for you. Langton and Campbell (CEO of Small Business Trends) waded through thousands of examples and chose 99 for any small business to use as an example or brainstorm starting point.

You’ll find thought-provoking marketing and PR tips, ideas, and creative “stunts” that you can easily adapt to fit your marketing objectives. This marketing idea book doesn’t stop with direct marketing or advertising. It also includes creative ways to use new technology and social media.

Read our interview on “Visual Marketing.” (Or get at Amazon)

Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing“Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing” by Eric Groves.
Email marketing and Constant Contact have been synonymous for years. Eric Groves has taken all the lessons learned from the thousands of customers who have successfully used the Constant Contact email marketing system and combined them into this set of collective best email marketing strategies.

If you currently use Constant Contact as your email marketing system, this book is a must-read so that you can get the most out of it. This marketing book isn’t just for Constant Contact customers, though.  It’s for any business that wants to do email marketing right.

Read our review of “Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing.” (Or get at Amazon)

Referral Engine“Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself” by John Jantsch

John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing, has interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs and used their stories as a best-practices collection of dozens of referral strategies as actually implemented by real business owners like YOU.

This marketing book shows you hundreds of different ways to develop a referral system that will pay off. Referral Engine is unique because it gives you dozens of referral systems ideas based on different types of businesses – instead of just one system that you have to adapt to your business. You’ll find many creative ideas to jump start a killer referral strategy.

Read our review of “Referral Engine.” (Or get at Amazon)

Attention!“Attention! This Book Will Make You Money: How to Use Attention-Getting Online Marketing to Increase Your Revenue” by Jim Kukral

Attention marketing is all about attracting attention to your business and your brand — in such a way that you turn that attention into revenue. This marketing book gives marketers, entrepreneurs and sales people an educational and motivational guide to using creative and attention-getting strategies to market your brand or business stand out from the crowd.

Attention! This Book Will Make You Money is filled with case studies, references, and proven examples of what works in the world of online and offline marketing.

Read our review of “Attention!(Or get at Amazon)

Found Money“Found Money: Simple Strategies for Uncovering the Hidden Cash Flow in Your Business” by Steve Wilkinghoff

You don’t often see the words marketing and accounting used together. Found Money will remind you that one of the “four Ps” of marketing is “product” and managing a profitable product mix. In this marketing book you will learn how to look at and analyze your product mix for profitability.

Business owners and managers who have P&L responsibility will learn about the critical profit drivers that affect their business. You also will learn how to get your employees excited and engaged about the financial drivers that impact profitability.

Read our review of “Found Money.” (Or get at Amazon)

Art of Pricing“Art of Pricing: How to Find Hidden Pricing to Grow Your Business” by Rafi Mohammed
Pricing is often overlooked by business owners and marketers as a powerful differentiator and profit builder. In this marketing book, pricing will transform from a financial conversation revolving around margins and costs to a fun and intriguing marketing conversation about influencing choices and buying decisions by simply manipulating your price.

You will learn about the psychology of pricing and how to attract the largest number of customers in your market segment by simply creating a pricing structure that makes it easy for them to choose you.

Read our review of “Art of Pricing.” (Or get at Amazon)

Outrageous Advertising“Outrageous Advertising That’s Outrageously Successful: Created for the 99% of Small Business Owners Who are Dissatisfied with the Results They Get From Their Current Advertising” by Bill Glazer

Bill Glazer has built a multi-million dollar business and reputation by using outrageous direct marketing strategies to attract and retain an insanely loyal and profitable customer base. Don’t dismiss his techniques for being exclusively for business to consumer businesses like retail. They are equally effective for every type of business – including industrial and high-tech products.

This marketing book is practical and hands-on. Readers will get examples and templates that they can use to build your own outrageous advertising program. The most valuable parts of the book are the worksheets that guide you through creating your own campaigns.

Read our review of “Outrageous Advertising.” (Or get at Amazon)

POP!“POP!: Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything” by Sam Horn

This marketing book outlines those special aspects that make an idea, message, or product stand out, and gives readers a simple and proven process—POP! (Purposeful, Original, Pithy)—to create one-of-a-kind ideas, products, and messages that pop through the noise of today’s crowded marketplace.

This is a quick and practical marketing book filled with great ideas that anyone can use to come up with tag lines and titles like a pro. In one example, Horn recommends using a cliché database on the web to search out and adapt for your tag lines.

Read more about “POP!”

Wondering why there are no social media marketing books on this list? That’s because there are so many excellent ones that we’ve created a separate Guide to Best Social Media Books.  And don’t forget to check our Guide to Top Sales Books.

Finally… be sure to browse through the 225+ small business book reviews here on Small Business Trends.  All reviews are written  by our Book Editorial Team.


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."

22 Reactions
  1. Someone tweeted me this link and I half expected the usual must read marketing list. But you had some new ones that I didn’t know about. Thanks very much! Love it!

  2. Sean: I am glad that you have found some new books on the list! Happy reading! 🙂

  3. Yes, alot of new books to check out. Thanks

  4. It’s a wonderful list. I bought Neuromarketing some time ago and it’s very interesting. Thank you for this info. Now I have more references.

  5. Many of these books, I have never heard of before. In fact just last night I had my hands on Brandwashed, at the local B & N before being thrown out at closing time. I am a voracious reader of business books and I have my own list on my website. So thank you for the list, now I know what I’ll be reading in the future. Hopefully they are as good as your staff says. After I read them I can add them to my own growing list of recommended advertising and marketing books.

  6. Also for everyone looking for good marketing books, try “Duct Tape Marketing”… it helped me alot when i started my online business. So many creative ideas to boost your imagination.

  7. The series of books on “Guerilla Marketing” is also a great read and has some really good advice for small businesses with no or low marketing budgets.

  8. Wow, that’s a lot of great books to add to my must read list!

  9. Thanks so much for this list! I have small home business and I think some of these books are going to be really helpful!

  10. Thanks for the list, I run a small heat and air business and these days I’m always looking for a different and better way to promote my business. Just a few years ago all you had to do is put an ad in the phone book, those days are gone. Different age groups use different mediums and you almost have to have something in all of them.

  11. Seems like you have quite a few neuromarketing books on this list. May I recommend a new on that just came out this year – Sales Seduction.
    It’s brilliantly written and best of all it makes it very easy for a layperson to take the insights and apply them to any message, product/service or customer.
    I think the author may be based in Australia… but the book seems to be available at Amazon, iTunes, B&N etc so it’s pretty easy to get a copy.

  12. You may also want to read chapter 4 and 5 of The Art of Influencing Anyone.

  13. am from western part of africa called nigeria. am a marketer by career and love reading good motivation book and good business book and i will love to do business with you sir

  14. Great list! I have many of these books on my things to read list. Even-thought you can find a lot of information on the internet…its great to crack open a book!

  15. Thansk for the list I have many of these on my reading list now and a few I want to track down. Even though you can find a lot of information online its great to crack open a book!

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