50 Best Marketing Books for Beginners and Life-Long Learners Alike to Level-Up in 2021

If you’re looking for the best marketing books for beginners in 2021, bookmark this article now, because we’ve got a list of 50 to get you started. 

Did you know that most CEOs read approximately 60 books a year? That’s about 4-5 books a month. Yet, according to the Pew Research Center, the average person in the United States reads 12 books a year. 

Why are leaders and executives reading exponentially more? 


Because they’re the ones who are spearheading the path for their organizations. Reading not only inspires and enlightens people from all walks of life, but also provides a foundation for innovation by learning from other cultures, societies, and perspectives on a myriad of issues and industries.

Become a life-long learner, and you’re not only keeping your brain active to stave off cognitive decline but also advancing your skills for any market. 

With fast-changing markets and the latest technologies in AI and automation, it’s critical to stay on top of what’s new in your industry. 

Read a few books on using AI and automation for marketing to give yourself a competitive edge.

Now, are there that many digital marketing books to read out there? Oh yes. Prepare yourself for the ultimate list of the best marketing books for entrepreneurs and beginners, and a few for free!  

There are a lot of resources out there for getting started with marketing as a beginner: online courses, webinars, professional development certifications, podcast interviews – here’s a list of the 50 best marketing books for beginners in 2021 to focus your efforts and get the most ROI for your time.

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In this article we break down the best marketing books as follows:

Digital Marketing Books For Beginners: Growth Marketing Formulas

In 2019, hosted a free virtual summit focused on advanced lead generation strategies for B2B and B2C industries. 

One of the speakers was Andy Crestodina, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder of Orbit Media Studios, Inc, who wrote the first book on this list of best marketing books for beginners:

#1. Content Chemistry: An Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing – by Andor Crestodina

After hosting thousands of conversations about web marketing, Content Chemistry compiles the most useful lessons and advice about search engine optimization, social media, and email marketing. Initially published in 2012, the book is now in its 5th edition.

#2. Likeable Social Media – by Dave Kerpen

Now in its 3rd edition, Likeable Social media dives into the fact that over 3 billion people are now on social media (1.3 billion active monthly users on Facebook Messenger alone! As of November 2020).

For your business to be successful, you need to have a smart social media strategy. Yet, with so many dawning platforms, how do you know how to navigate each one? And how many do you have to have? This book explores what makes customers “like” and engage with your content.

#3. Digital Marketing for Dummies – by Ryan Deiss and Russ Henneberry

It doesn’t get any more friendly and approachable than this guide. With proven tactics and strategies to help expand your brand’s reach, increase engagement, and generate more sales (from SEM and SEO best practices to effective content marketing techniques and influencer marketing). Digital Marketing for Dummies is a great place to start.

#4. Get Online: 6 Simple Steps to Launching a Digital Marketing Strategy for the Non-Tech Savvy – by Stacey Kehoe

Especially created for beginners, you’ll discover six easy steps to implement your first digital marketing strategy and what pitfalls to navigate. Discover common myths about online and social media marketing, too. 

And, if you’re just beginning on your business’ quest to achieve Unicorn status, get a free account to build upon what you learn in this book. 

Keep learning and always be looking out for new online marketing strategies that may produce better results. For example, Click-to-Messenger Ads outperform other ads 2X-10X! Check out some messenger ads examples that have ridiculous ROI and 100% conversion rate for collecting leads and contact info.

#5. Growth Hacker Marketing – by Ryan Holiday

For stratospheric growth, you’ll need to create a narrative of success around your brand before it begins to grow. 

Find out how Dropbox, Airbnb, and Facebook used these methods to build their empires. While you are at it, study what the 8 trending digital marketing tools were in 2020 to see how you can apply growth hacker marketing for 2021.

#6. Avoiding Critical Marketing Errors: How to Go From Dumb to Smart Marketing – by Richard D. Czerniawski

You want to do the right things as much as you want to avoid the wrong ones. If you’re ignoring proven principles, best practices, and quality processes, especially when building the foundation of your marketing campaigns, you’ll slow your growth and potentially do even more damage.

#7. Good to Great – by Jim Collins

Some brands are terrible. Some are okay. And, some are great. How do you get to that last rung? 

This book is full of Collins’ best concepts and strategies. Find out what Jim says you can do right and wrong to grow your business.

#8. Contagious: Why Things Catch On – by Jonah Berger

Written by a marketing professor at Wharton, Jonah Berger shares how social influence shapes the decisions we make and the factors that help things go viral: 1) Social Currency, 2) Triggers, 3) Emotion, 4) Public, 5) Practical Value, and 6) Stories.

#9. The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, And Stand Out From The Crowd – by Allan Dib

Who doesn’t like the sounds of a 1-page plan? This is a great primer to figure out your target market and craft the right messaging.

Also, you’ll learn how to nurture leads, increase lifetime customer value, and create a process for referrals. 

There are different ways to increase sales with chatbots, or become an affiliate reseller.

#10. Marketing 4.0: Moving From Traditional to Digital – by Philip Kotler

Next-generation marketing tactics start here. You’ll learn about the market’s shifting power dynamics, the inconsistencies impacted by connectivity, and the sub-culture rupture.

Get the attention of today’s customer! They are changing everyday, and technology is changing with them at turbo charged speeds. 

Lead Generation Strategies for B2B & B2C

How do you talk to your prospects about what you’re selling? Whether it’s a good or a service?

Start turning prospects into clients with these best beginner marketing books for 2021 that cover everything from built-in Facebook Messenger tools to opt-ins and more.

#1. The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies – by Chet Holmes

Trying to do everything at once? Holmes argues that to succeed, you need to focus on a few essential skill areas that will substantially make a difference to your level of success.

#2. Fanocracy – by David Meerman Scott and Reiko Scott

No matter how digital our world becomes, your customers can become your biggest advocates and referral business sources. 

Reiko is a millennial neuroscientist who takes her scientific background and applies it to marketing and PR rules for your benefit.

#3. Talk Triggers – by Jay Baer

Almost 20% of sales come from word-of-mouth, while up to 90% of sales have been influenced by what your audience says about you. 

For actionable tips on how to get your customers to talk and become part of your marketing team, Talk Triggers is full of ways that you can apply to your own business.

#4. Dotcom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online – by Russell Brunson

From traffic, conversions, and sales funnels to the importance of creating compelling messaging to cultivate a loyal and engaged following. Dotcom Secrets is highly regarded as one of the best digital business strategy books. 

Brunson started his first online company while he was wrestling in college; within a year of graduation, he had sold over a million dollars of his products and services from his basement.

Join Brunson’s “Two Comma Club” for multi-millionaire business owners that use Dotcom Secrets techniques. 

There are so many different ways to grow your marketing agency to six and seven figures, per month! is one of the tools experts use to break through ceilings.

#5. The Conversion Code – by Chris Smith

Ready to increase your sales in the digital world? This book details how to capture more leads, convert them, and ultimately close more deals. 

You will learn modern tactics for attracting new leads, such as through blogging, live chat software, and more.

#6. Lead Generation: How to Generate Leads and Sales to Grow Your Business Without Spending Tons of Money – by Larry Billson

Author Larry Billson provides you with lead generation strategies and winning factors that drive ROI improvements. 

Also, you’ll discover common lead generation mistakes and how to avoid them. 

With the vast amount of innovative lead generation tools available, you can grow your contacts lists for email or Messenger marketing at insane speed. 

We have a few of our own tricks up our sleeves on how to grow your email list fast, check out the blog!

#7. The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue – by Shama Kabani

Ready to attract more leads via social media? Shama Kabani is here to help! Learn how to use this medium to convert followers into clients successfully.

The first version was a global hit, and this updated version keeps up with the fast pace of change for social media platforms in 2020 and 2021.

#8. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable – by Seth Godin

Yes, Godin appears twice in this list, but for a good reason. 

He’s a digital marketing expert extraordinaire for beginners and professionals. 

The title gives you a clue what this is about, standing out – being unique. 

Discover how brands you easily recognize are creating remarkable and unique marketing to grab consumer and client’s attention.

#9. The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cordone

Massive action starts with the 10x Rule, where you can truly defy mediocrity. 

“Turn it up to 10” applies to everything right? 


If you’re ready to move from risk-aversion to achieving your dreams, Cordone lays out some actionable ways to go above and beyond, step by step.

Speaking of going above and beyond, when it comes to customer service, the 10X way to stay ahead of competition is to utilize 24/7 conversational chatbots with a Facebook Messenger drip campaign and live agent takeover. 

#10. UnCloned Marketing: How to Challenge the Norms with Profitable Marketing Campaigns – by Audria Richmond

Looking for a bulletproof brand that audiences love? This book delivers a comprehensive blueprint for creating cash-generating marketing campaigns. 

The fourth book for Marketing and Launch Strategist Audria Richmond reveals her marketing firm’s exact proven framework. 

Learn how she drives sales, establishes authority, and creates offers that your audience can’t wait to buy.

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Marketing Automation and Artificial Intelligence

As customers become more informed consumers and technology continues to advance at hyperspeed, you’ll need to keep a finger on the pulse of marketing trends. 

These books will help!

#1. AI for Marketers – by Christopher Penn

If you’re curious about the latest machine learning trends and how marketers are using emerging technologies, this book focuses on how artificial intelligence and machine learning are transforming EVERYTHING. 

If you’d like to start dabbling in AI marketing, check out how it’s effectively used via chatbots for business.

#2. Future Marketing: Winning in the Prosumer Age – by Jon Wuebben

Are you planning your marketing moves for the future? 

Wuebben shares what to expect and how to embrace the future of online marketing. 

A “prosumer” is someone who both consumes and produces. In other words, someone who buys a product, uses it, and spreads the word about it. 

A single prosumer can greatly affect your brand!

#3. The Age of Influence: The Power of Influencers to Elevate Your Brand – by Neal Schaffer

While you might not think of influencers as a “marketing technology,” they should be utilized as if they are if you’d like your brand to succeed. 

Influencers aren’t a trend, they are simply popular PR magnets or niche/SME celebrities. It would be unwise to dismiss this in your marketing strategy.

Social media has democratized authority and influence, so information is being consumed in ever-evolving ways. 

Get this essential guide for business owners who want to create a successful and sustainable influencer marketing plan.

#4. The End of Marketing: Humanizing Your Brand in the Age of Social Media and AI – by Carlos Gil

Shortlisted for the Business Book Awards 2020, Carlos Gil talks about how to use new features and platforms that immediately engage with your customers — all through a humanistic approach. is one of those tools that immediately engage with customers. Utilize a Facebook Messenger autoresponder and craft a humanistic dialogue or use our templates

You can also set keyword triggers for a live agent takeover for the perfect balance of AI and human in your marketing.

#5. The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick

This is great for a beginner, as you’ll learn how to get the most out of the time, money, and effort you spend on social media. 

Go through the steps of how to build a solid foundation, acquire digital assets, attract followers, and easily integrate social media and content marketing, such as blogging.

Here are nine social media to-do’s to get you started.

#6. Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator – by Ryan Holiday

Want to know how media truly works? 

The first half of this book explains how blogs drive news — and how somebody can manipulate them. 

The second demonstrates that if the sole focus of marketing is attention and profit, only the brands win while readers lose. 

As a thought leader, Holiday is a former marketing director of American Apparel and wanted to help the public understand how things really work.

#7. Understanding Digital Marketing: Marketing Strategies for Engaging the Digital Generation – by Damian Ryan

Everything moves phenomenally fast in digital marketing. 

If you’re looking to figure out how to manage continually evolving technology, here’s a practical, no-nonsense guide. 

Learn the rules of new media marketing and a new generation of consumers. But don’t forget, sometimes it’s good to break them!

#8. HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Strategic Marketing – by Clayton M. Christensen

If you read nothing else on how to create a competitive edge, these ten articles from the Harvard Business Review will help you get a bird’s eye view of your brand’s strengths and weaknesses.

It’s a great way to self-audit and reassess your brand’s marketing strategy, from a trusted source.

Marketing Strategy: Client Retention & the Psychology of Human Behavior

Marketing isn’t purely science — it’s also very much art. 

If you’re looking for the right psychology, strategies, and practices for the generation ahead, these beginner marketing books will help guide you to where you want to go and show you the right client retention tactics to grow your business.

#1. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

The “Hook Model” is a four-step process embedded into the products of many successful companies that subtly encourages customer behaviors. 

These products reach their ultimate goal of bringing users back again and again without relying upon heavy advertising. 

After years of research, consulting, and practical experience, Hooked delivers a how-to guide for marketers on creating user habits that stick.

#2. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition – by W. Chan Kim and Renee A. Maugborgne

Tired of fighting with cutthroat competition to gain a small foothold? 

Discover the tools and principles to find an untapped market – a blue ocean – with this masterclass on marketing strategy.

And something you may not find in this book, but is a vast ocean of untapped leads and conversions is the expected growth of Facebook Messenger to 2.4 billion users by 2021. 

We have the ultimate fishing rod and power bait for modern marketers: Facebook Messenger chatbot combined with explosive lead generating Click-to-Messenger ads for a 100% conversion rate and ROI that is bananas!

#3. Winning at Social Customer Care – by Dan Gingiss

For eight steps on how to engage with your customers on social media, including how to get your audience talking positively about your brand on social media, this is the book for you. 

For the ten best customer support chat tools to enable superior service and satisfaction, can get you started. 

#4. The Choice Factory: 25 Behavioral Biases That Influence What We Buy – by Richard Shotton

Gain insight into the shortcuts people use to make the big and small decisions in life, a.k.a. cognitive biases.

The Choice Factory explores how to use this research to create marketing and sales success.

#5. Digital Marketers Sound Off – by Matt Chiera

101 accomplished digital marketing specialists come together to dive into every aspect of digital marketing.

Learn from the best or die like the rest! In the digital marketing community, you’ve got to adapt and be agile, and that means keeping an ear to the ground for big changes. 

Most experts are usually on top of these things and happily share news and info to be a valuable resource.

#6. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions – by Dan Ariely

Facts tell, emotions sell. 

To be an effective marketer, you need to understand that your customer often buys based on how they’re feeling, then justifies their purchase decision afterward. 

Discover an intro to behavioral economics from Dan Ariely, a psychology professor.

#7. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – by Robert B. Cialdini

Why do people say yes? 

How can you apply this ethically to your sales and business? 

Dr. Robert B. Ciadini walks you through six universal principles of influence: 

1) Reciprocation 

2) Commitment and Consistency

3) Social Proof

4) Liking

5) Authority

6) Scarcity. 

Backed by over 35 years of scientific research, Influence helps you learn how to amplify your ability to change others’ behavior.

#8. The Science of Selling: Proven Strategies to Make Your Pitch, Influence Decisions, and Close the Deal – by David Hoffeld

Learn about your buyers’ emotions. If you haven’t figured it out yet, marketing it all about tapping into emotions and drawing out emotional reactions. 

You don’t have to craft cathartic theater with your marketing, but it’s good to ask the right questions that line up with how the brain processes information. 

Discover the underlying causes of objections and how to neutralize them.

#9. Think Like a Marketer: How a Shift in Mindset Can Change Everything for Your Business – by Kate Colbert

Acclaimed marketing expert, Kate Colbert, shares insights on how to accelerate your business success. 

Learn how to think like a marketer to shift everything for your brand! 

Build on what you learn with 25 expert marketer’s tips and genius marketing strategies.

#10. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful – by Marshall Goldsmith

Learn the 20 habits commonly found in successful corporate environments. 

Then, utilize these habits to take a systematic approach to helping you achieve a positive behavior change to achieve a higher level of success.

The Key to Best Content Marketing

With every multi-channel approach to marketing, it’s rooted in the right content that will speak to your target audience. 

Get content marketing tips that build the essential know-like-trust factor for your brand!

#1. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen – by Donald Miller

If you’re feeling challenged about how to talk about who you are, what you do, and the unique value you bring to your customers, Donald Miller’s StoryBrand process is a revolutionary method for creating the ultimate competitive advantage. 

You’ll learn the seven universal story points all humans respond to, the real reason customers make purchases, and how to simplify a brand message so your audience understands it.

Then, translate all of this content into your online marketing channels.

#2. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook – by Gary Vaynerchuk

Social media expert and New York Times bestselling author, “Gary V” shows that communication AND context are essential. 

You’ll learn how to develop quality content that can be adapted to mobile and different platforms.

There will also be an enjoyable amount of cussing. 


#3. The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand – by Ekaterina Walter

Our brains have trouble separating trivial information from important info, and all this information processing – over 5x as much as we did daily in 1986 – is tiring. 

If you’re looking for how your brand can stand out from all the noise, this book features strategies to truly connect with your audience in a meaningful way. 

Why do you need visual content marketing? Without it, you will not be heard or seen and will effectively be missing the enormous digital marketing boat. 

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

Do you have a website? You’re a writer. 

Are you on social media? You’re a writer. 

Did you know that writing matters even more, these days? 

Marketing veteran Ann Handley gives expert guidance and insight into the process and strategy of content creation, including production and publishing. 

Whether you’re writing your homepage, email newsletters, blogs, or social media, you’ll discover how to write better, how to tailor grammar for marketing purposes, how to tell authentic stories, and finally, how to thrive in a digital world.

#5. Content Marketing for PR: How to Build Brand Visibility, Influence and Trust in Today’s Social Age – by Trevor Young

Your audience doesn’t want meaningless ads, pitches, and promotional messages. 

They won’t care about your business until you give them a reason to. 

Here are tips on how to get noticed for companies big or small.

#6. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action – by Simon Sinek

Sinek created the third most popular TEDTalk of all time — he asks, “Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty than customers and employees alike?” It starts with your WHY. 

Learn about Sinek’s Golden Circle and how it provides a framework upon which organizations build upon.

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Best Marketing Books for Beginners – Free!

If you’re not yet ready to invest in an arsenal of marketing books for beginners, check out these free resources to start:

#1. Big Book of Digital Marketing – by Digital Firefly Marketing

You’ll learn about SEO, Content Marketing, Website Redesign, Social Media Marketing, and Pinterest. 

Remember, it pays to give out free tools and be a resource — like Digital Firefly Marketing is doing here!

#2. Understanding Digital Marketing: Basics and Actions – by Teresa Pineiro-Otero and Xabier Martinez-Rolan

Super short, you’ll be able to give this PDF a quick glance if you’re looking to simply dip your toe into figuring out what questions to ask.

#3. The Essential Guide to Marketing in a Digital World – by Rob Stokes

Structured in four parts – Think, Create, Engage, Optimize – this book helps you create a marketing campaign from start to finish, including analysis.

#4. SEO Book: A New Chapter Every Day – by Aaron Matthew Wall

If you’re unsure where to get started with search engine optimization, this e-book will guide you through SEO tools, analytics, and case studies.

BONUS: Best Marketing Books for Entrepreneurs to Create Successful Mindset Shifts

To become the kind of marketer your business needs requires the right mindset. 

The world’s most successful marketers do similar things — and it often begins with how they think! 

Improve your mindset with these beginner marketing books:

#1. Leading with Character: 10 Minutes a Day to a Brilliant Legacy – by Dr. Jim Loehr

World-renowned performance psychologist Dr. Jim Loehr shares how to strengthen your moral and ethical character for outstanding leadership. 

If you’re looking to create a purposeful and lasting impact with the work you’re doing and the business you’re building, Leading with Character is for you.

#2. The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur – by John Jantsch

Trying to do #allthethings? It can be challenging as an overworked entrepreneur to focus on what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. 

The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur features a collection of inspirational reflections and quotes – one for every day of the year! – to ensure that you’re meeting your emotional needs.

#3. Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World – by David Epstein

For generations, we’ve been told we need to specialize. 

We need to niche down. 

We need to become experts at one specific thing. 

This book demonstrates that a person with a “range” and expansive diversity in experience, knowledge, and toolkits can best address marketing needs. 

Growth marketing is about finding unique solutions, so knowing how to pull the resources you need will help you thrive.

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