Marketing Best Books To Read

Published on August 24th, 2016 | by charliesaidthat


Top Digital Strategy Books To Add To Your Reading List

After reading my post about my favourite digital marketing blogs a friend asked me which books I’d recommend for someone wanting to get into digital marketing. Instead of re-writing this list the next time someone asks and sending it privately I thought I’d open it up for discussion too.

For me digital marketing strategy starts with trying to understand who your customers are and what makes them tick and only then, deciding how we can design plans to make meaningful impacts on business around their behaviour.

Digital strategy totally has it’s roots in psychology, behavioural economics and data. Which hopefully comes through from the books I’ve recommended.

I’d love your recommendations too.

Best Digital Marketing Strategy Books

I’ve used Amazon affiliates here for UK & US and I’ve also added the authors’ Twitter accounts where possible.


Psychology of Influence: Robert Cialdini

This book is probably the grandfather of all bestselling sales, marketing and psychology based business books. It just nails the fundamental human behaviours that we rely on. Not really digital at all.



eMarketing eXcellence: Dave Chaffey, PR Smith

This book (which was on my University reading list) is responsible for me getting into the industry. It took standard theory and helps apply it to what seemed like common sense to me and my fellow students. But it meant we could talk about digital marketing in a way that other businessmen may understand us. As an entry text to digital marketing it is strongly recommended.



Social Media ROI: Olivier Blanchard

Olivier demystifies Social Media ROI, whilst talking solid business sense. This book will help you sell in social media to the most traditional CEO, MD or FD.



Webs of Influence: Nathalie Nahai

A well researched book which focuses on how to make your website more engaging – helping you to find out what makes your audience click. It is very easy to understand for non-technical people, full of live examples and really gets to the bottom of the psychology behind successful websites.


good strategy bad strategy

Good Strategy Bad Strategy Richard Rumelt

Hugely insightful strategy book, which doesn’t really cover much in digital marketing. Richard Rumelt summarises his experience in the world of business strategy and outlines several types of bad strategy that I’m sure we have all experienced. This talk he gave covers most of the points in his book if you prefer to consume content in video format.



Web Analytics 2.0: Avinash Kaushik

This is a web analytics bible. If you are starting out as a digital marketer, web designer, SEO, UX, CRO or just about any other role related to websites… YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THIS STUFF!



From Survival to Significance: Jeremy Waite

From Survival to Significance by Jeremy Waite combines strategy and story telling to look behind the scenes at some of the world’s most valuable brands – exploring the 5 Levels of Brand Leadership and offering practical advice that you can quickly apply in your own organization.



Predictably Irrational: Dan Ariely

A book that skips between experiments in the lab and real life applications of theory. Ariely, takes a look at patterns that we fall into with our unconscious self, leading to predictable decisions that a) we can design for and b) perhaps we can occasionally spot before we fall for them.



Buyology: Martin Lindstrom

This is one of my all time favourite business book reads. It has loads of thought provoking case studies fully backed up with research.



The Brand Bubble: John Gerzema, Edward Lebar

The Brand Bubble gives insights as to how you may recover a brand when it goes into decline. It has some really interesting case studies that may give you ideas about how to re-invigorate your work.



The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation: Jono Bacon

This book on building communities really is thorough. It makes no bones about the fact it is a long hard slog. Anyone tasked with the “easy job” of building communities within Twitter or Facebook really ought to read this.



Socialnomics: Erik Qualman

This book focusses around Word of Mouth and what that means in a world embracing technology. It might not be as inspiring as other books here if you “get it”, but has nice thoughts on leveraging video and other emerging tech.



The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web: Tamar Weinberg

An introduction to the types of platforms we all take for granted now, with a bunch of practical and effective tactics from practitioners that are still highly relevant today.



Communities Dominate Brands: Tomi Ahonen, Alan Moore

This book still has some of the most interesting digital case studies from around the world and applications despite being several years old now, still thought provoking.



End of Business As Usual: Brian Solis

Brian Solis looks at how building relationships with customers (and providing services they want) can create positive feedback loops that make lasting impressions on a business.


Books On My Reading List


Neuro Web Design: Susan M. Weinschenk



Don’t Make Me Think: Steve Krug



You Should Test That: Chris Goward



The Lean Startup: Eric Ries



Lean Analytics: Alistair Croll, Benjamin Yoskovitz


About the Author

Hi I’m Charlie, a digital strategist, I have an interest in social media, SEO, lead acquisition and understanding consumer behaviour to make a definitive difference to the businesses I work with. Find me on: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Linkedin | or just Email Me  

  • Ralph du Plessis

    The Lean StartUp, one of my favourites!

    • charliesaidthat

      It certainly seems to have a lot of praise… Hope it lives up tot he hype. :)

  • Rhys

    Hi Charlie,

    Great list! Two other books I enjoy (which are predictable, but feel they would add to the list) are “The Four Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss & “Rework” by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson. Not too digital but great insights into digital working.

    • charliesaidthat

      Actually have been meaning to get around to reading 4 hour work week for ages. Keeps slipping off my radar as it just sounds too self-helpy.

      Hadn’t heard of Rework before. Thanks for these Rhys. :)

      • David Van Veen

        Both of these are great recommendations. Not sure if you’ve found the time to check them out yet, but I wanted to throw in my +1 for them both.

        “Rework”, if you didn’t know, is by the two gents behind 37 Signals (Basecamp, etc)

  • Ben Saffer

    I’d also give a recommendation for @Aleksk ‘s Untangling the Web – though I havent got around to it yet, her writing and podcasts for the Guardian and work for the BBC is excellent for understanding the psychology and underlying “nature” of the web

    • charliesaidthat

      Cheers bro, will check it out. (I think I owe you a phone call very soon too!)

  • Barry Adams

    Great list Charlie, some of these I actually listed as well in an upcoming State of Search blog post. :)

    • charliesaidthat

      Would always welcome a link from there my man… *coughs* ;)

      • Barry Adams

        That could be arranged… :)

        • charliesaidthat

          Thanks BTW! :D

  • Verbal Identity

    hi Charlie
    to your great list i’d add two books.
    The first is the all time classic: How to Win Friends and Influence People. It’s basic suggestions are always good to keep in mind, and then execute via digital.
    The other great book i’d recommend is “Text Analytics for Marketing” – the only problem with this book is that I haven’t written it yet. But hold on, it’s coming…

    • charliesaidthat

      So are you in the process of writing it then Chris? :)

  • Danny Brown

    Nice list here, Charlie, and good to see it’s not the “usual fare” when lists like these are made, but books that can actually help.


    • charliesaidthat

      Thanks for the kind words Danny. :) I much prefer actionable tips and actually changing business, rather than OMG-look-at-the-shiny-new hyperbole.

      Have you got any books you’d recommend I read?

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  • Scott Abel

    Awesome list Charlie! I would add ‘Managing Content Marketing’ ( by Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi, and ‘Managing Enterprise Content’ by Ann Rockley and Charles Cooper, along with ‘The Inmates Are Running the Asylum’ by Alan Cooper.

    • charliesaidthat

      Thanks Scott, I’ll add them to my reading list. :)

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  • Mayur More

    Thanks for the list Charlie, Some of the books, I will consider in my next reading.

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