The Digital Marketer's Master Library

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What business books should you read if you are looking to up your game in the digital marketing channels or if you’re just about to enter the fray?

I’m often asked this question, but the answer is not so cut and dry. When people ask about Digital Marketing, it sounds more like they’re thinking about Social Media. The truth is that Social Media is but a small component of the Digital Marketing world. It’s much more important to have a well-rounded perspective around media, marketing, advertising and communications. Over the years, there have been many books that have integrated these core marketing foundations while adding in the newer media slant. Ultimately, a brand is a brand and while the channels and technologies evolve and change, getting an idea to resonate with a consumer is just as challenging as it was when there were no Internet connections.

So, what business books should you read if you are looking for a career in Digital Marketing (or if these channels are becoming a more critical part of your marketing mix)?

Here is the Essential Digital Marketing Library (in alphabetical order):

There’s a caveat to the list:

You may not need to read every book listed above. Some of them will have similar stories and/or case studies and some of them will be saying the same thing in a different way. While all of these books are worthy of your attention, as of late I’ve discovered that books about anthropology, networks, biology, psychology, architecture and technology can broaden my perspective and definitions of how to create something that both gets attention for my clients, while at the same time, something that has a more lasting and loyal affect. You’ll also note that many of these authors have other books as well. Most of them are great too, so if you like an author, dive into their catalogue.

And furthermore…

There are tons of new, evolving and fresh content online that can be found in Blogs (start here: Ad Age Power 150), audio and video Podcasts and simply by following some of the smarter marketing folks on Twitter who shoot out fascinating links on a daily and continual basis.

What would be in your Essential Digital Marketing Library? (remember, the keyword is "essential"!)


  1. I would add Six Pixels because it is a great resource
    Socialnomics by Erik Qualman
    Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
    The Great Reset by Richard Florida
    The Dragonfly Effect by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith
    I like to have resource and context books. All of these books have changed the way I look at and use the Digital World.

  2. Nice list. A couple of more that have helped my thinking.
    Cognitive Surplus – Shirky
    Making Ideas Happen – Scott Belsky
    Unmarketing – Scott Stratten

  3. Hey Mitch,
    Here are my additions:
    1. The Next Evolution of Marketing by Bob Gilbreath -
    and personally I think this next book is not only essential for digital marketers but really any marketer:
    2. Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh –
    Would love your thoughts on either book if you’ve read it.

  4. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini
    Fascinate – Sally Hogshead
    Resonate – Nancy Duarte (Haven’t read it yet but looking forward to it!)
    Digging into Psychology and Sociology has been hugely beneficial not just to marketing but life in general.
    This is a fantastic post and I can’t wait to see the rest of the comments that come in.

  5. I’m adding to my “books to buy” after reading this.
    Here are my additions to the list.
    “The Whuffie Factor” by Tara Hunt
    “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath. Definitely not a marketing book but there are a lot of brilliant ideas on how to create change.
    “Rules of Thumb” by Alan Webber (because I think everyone should read that book)

  6. Great list. I would add The Starfish and the Spider by Ori Brafman Rod Beckstrom. It’s not a marketing book per se, but it gets at the heart of why businesses have to operate differently now because of the impact of the internet. It looks at the shift from hierarchical models to hybrid hierarchy- network companies like amazon and eBay.
    I notice in the original list all except for one co-written book was written by male authors. Are there any notable women authors in the field?

  7. Hi Mitch,
    I would place Scott Strattens “Unmarketing” on there as he is a legend
    within his own sphere of influence.
    & then..
    Tim Ferris’s “The 4 Hour Workweek”
    -Skye King

  8. I’ve read a few of those already, but now I have a few more to add to my Christmas list ๐Ÿ™‚
    I would highly recommend Web Analytics 2.0 also.

  9. Engage…Brian Solis
    Good to Great…Jim Collins, not a Marketing book but it will help you help your clients understand and focus on why they are in business
    Built to sell…John Warrillow if you are going to start your own firm
    Daily…Seth Godin’s Blog

  10. * The Long Tail by Chris Anderson
    * Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah
    * The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (specifically for the Law of the Few Chapter on Conncectors, Mavens, and Salesmen)
    * Marketing in the Age of Google by Vanessa Fox (I just started reading it, and I love how it simply explains the rationale, strategy, and tactics behind search in a non-jargony way (because I don’t understand SEO-speak). The chapter on creating search personas is outstanding.
    Thank you Mitch for sharing your list of great resources, and giving us an opportunity to contribute.

  11. Hi Mitch, you know I love these book lists, thanks again for your last contest with one.
    My essential digital marketing books that aren’t on list and in comments already are these:
    The Referral Engine – John Jantsch
    Read this with the digital mindset and it’s GOLD I say.
    The Mesh – Lisa Gansky
    The author explores ideas that expand upon a whole new arena for digital.
    Fascinate – Sally Hogshead
    Sally elaborates on testing the message for desired effect. Again, applied to digital, it’s super powerful stuff. Here’s a great slideshare to further make this point about this book:
    Great list Mitch, my copy of Cluetrain was waiting for me soon after my return from Montreal and your suggesting it. Thank you.

  12. I just picked up Tim’s latest book, The 4-Hour Body, but have yet to read it. Also, if you like UnMarketing, you should check out my interview with Scott. I was episode #206 in the Podcast section to the left.

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