Improve your marketing strategy with an insightful book

Behind every effective marketing strategy lies hard work, skillful application and in-depth knowledge.


Knowledge doesn’t just appear out of thin air. It typically comes from a wide variety of sources, but often you’ll get your marketing knowledge from a book.


Who knows? One small kernel of information that you never knew you’d need could completely change everything.

Books that can make a difference

Here at Design Wizard, we know the impact a good book can have on your marketing mindset. That’s why we’ve created a list of 15 of the best marketing books for 2020.


This list gives you a detailed look at what each book is about and tells you exactly why you need to read it as soon as possible!

The Age of Influence: The Power of Influencers to Elevate Your Brand – Neal Schaffer

In The Age of Influence, Neal Schaffer speaks about the important role that influencer marketing can play in your marketing strategy. “If you are in marketing, you’re probably wondering, what’s next? You’re hopefully doing digital marketing, dabbling in social media, blogging, Facebook ads – but it costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time. There is another important marketing channel that deserves your attention: collaborating with influencers. Today digital influence is everywhere.


It goes beyond Instagrammers and YouTubers and encompasses all of the digital platforms and includes not just those celebrities that have never heard of you, but many that already know, like, and trust you: Your employees, partners, customers, and social media followers.”

Key takeaways:

  1. Influencer marketing is about long-term collaborative relationships, not simple one-time monetary campaign-based transactional relationships.
  2. Digital influence is everywhere and is appropriate for any company in any industry.
  3. There are a tremendous variety of ways in which you can collaborate with influencers, and not all of them require monetary compensation.

Brand New Name: A Proven, Step-by-Step Process to Create an Unforgettable Brand Name – Jeremy Miller

Every entrepreneur, business owner, and marketer has to name something — at least once.


Brand New Name by Jeremy Miller is a graphically designed branding book that shows you how to name, or rename, anything. The process Miller outlines in the book is simple and strategic, which makes it accessible for everyone.


Whether you are naming a company, product, service, or even an idea — choosing a brand name is one of the most important business decisions you will make. A brilliant name defines your brand, and it can shape the future of your business.


In Brand New Name, you will discover how names persuade people and get stuck in their minds, and the origin stories of iconic brands.


One of the best marketing books for 2020 – Brand New Name brings together a practical how-to guide with loads of examples and inspirational stories so you can create a name that you will be proud to own. 

Key takeaways:

  1. Graphically designed branding book that shows you how to name or rename anything.
  2. A proven, step-by-step process to create an unforgettable brand name in 2 to 4 weeks.
  3. Learn how to unlock your creative talents, and the creative genius of your team, to solve complex problems (like naming).

The Definitive Guide to Strategic Content Marketing : Perspectives, Issues, Challenges and Solutions – Lazar Dzamic & Justin Kirby

Everyone talks about the changes in the marketing and publishing industries, but very few have a bird’s-eye view of them. There are a lot of how-to books about content, but Lazar Dzamic and Justin Kirby thought that the strategic side of the debate, the whole philosophy of the new ways of marketing was missing. That’s why this comes in as one of the best marketing books to read in 2020.


The more they researched it, the more they realised that they were talking less about content as a department, as one particular deliverable, and more about the future of marketing.


About the key dynamics that are shaping how brands and agencies have to think about the next 5-10 years and the coming environment they need to operate in. And about the impact it will have on their business models, skill sets, how they’re organised and how they make money.


Dzamic says, “The book is a missing manual about the why of content (we don’t even call it ‘marketing’, it’s bigger than that), and about what is really happening in the marketing industry today.”


In his foreword, Tom Goodwin wrote, “What we need at times like this is a mature guide through the change in the industry, to hear from experts who span the old and the new, to learn from precocious thinkers who dare  to challenge conventional wisdom.” 

Key takeaways:

  1. The ultimate discussion on what content is in marketing and brand building today – the 1st book to read before any other on this topic!
  2. Gives a glimpse of what brand building is going to be all about in the next 10 years (at least).
  3. Interviews with more than 60 leading names in the industry, including clients and publishers – no fluff, just hard truths.

Content Marketing For Traffic And Sales: How To Use Direct Response Copywriting, For More Effective Content Marketing – Daniel Daines-Hutt

Daniel Daines-Hutt’s Content Marketing for Traffic and Sales is perfect for any marketer who feels like their content isn’t doing what it should.


It’s ideal for you if you feel like your content is missing something and you’re not sure why? Everyone else is telling you to ‘write more often’, but you’re going mad from all the work and little results.


Daines-Hutt shows you what content will turn things around for you and then tells you how you can make the most of that content.


Ultimately, this book will teach you how to effectively set up your content so that it sells on automation. When your marketing is automated, you’ll reduce your costs, waste less time and potentially improve customer experience.

Key takeaways:

  1. A new content strategy and the different types of content that you need.
  2. Content to attract, content to sell, content to help sell and content to leverage traffic systems.
  3. How to write the 9 archetypes that fit into this content marketing strategy.
  4. Practical advice for writing a blog post that’s designed to convert first-time readers into brand advocates.

The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing – Rich Brooks

While digital marketing platforms like Facebook and Google are constantly changing, this book provides you with a flexible, scalable framework for digital marketing that will work across industries and into the foreseeable future. It’s one of the best marketing books for any small business to generate leads.


Brooks outlines the key aspects of modern digital marketing and shows you how you can expand on them and grow your business. He talks about the different strategies you can use to get visitors to your website and how you can ensure they keep coming back.


The complexity around some elements of digital marketing is simplified and readers are presented with a book that simplifies what they need to do.


It provides a step-by-step guide to grow your business online that is perfect for marketers and entrepreneurs in any niche.

Key takeaways:

  1. You need a balanced approach that includes elements of The BARE Essentials of Digital Marketing: Build, Attract, Retain, and Evaluate.
  2. For mosts small businesses, organic SEO will be the main way to attract new visitors to your website.
  3. By educating your prospect through your website, content, and social media postings, you’ll build an affinity with them that will translate into leads and sales.

The Choice Factory: 25 Behavioural Biases That Influence What We Buy – Richard Shotton

Behavioral science explains what actually motivates people, rather than what they claim motivates them. The Choice Factory shows how findings from this robust field can be easily applied to marketing.


Shotton highlights the intricacies of targeting and looks into how marketers should be going about it.


Even if you aren’t a marketer, this book provides a fascinating insight on consumerism and human behavior.


It’s one of the best marketing books if you are looking to hone in on day-to-day decisions and examines what drives us to make them and therefore what makes us tick.

Key takeaways:

  1. Behavioural science can be applied in simple ways to improve marketing. 
  2. Marketers should give as much importance to identifying their ideal target context as they do their target audience.
  3. Behavioural science is best applied in a lateral, rather than literal, manner.


Social Media:

Content – The Atomic Particle of Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Content Marketing Strategy – Rebecca Lieb

Everyone wants to practice content marketing, but too many neglect the essential business strategy behind the practice.


Like the title suggests, Lieb deconstructs content marketing to an atomic level, pinpointing small details that make a campaign work and showing you how you can implement them.


It examines the role content marketing plays not only on your website or blog, but on social media and offline.


Her points are extremely well articulated in one of the best marketing books for 2020 that is packed with useful information for content marketers.

Key takeaways:

  1. How to develop and execute content strategy.
  2. Get the rest of your organisation on board.
  3. Measure success effectively (not just sales, but a ton of other business outcomes related to ROI).


Social Media:

One Million Followers: How I Built a Massive Social Following in 30 Days – Brendan Kane

It becomes increasingly challenging to succeed on digital platforms every year, and simply posting every day or using hashtags typically won’t be enough. You need to be strategic.


Brendan Kane’s book provides a formula that anyone, at any stage, can use. He tells you how to create the right content for your audience and what examples to look for to get inspiration.


Kane shares his own experience on the subject and explains how certain social media strategies worked for him. He knows what he’s doing and is well qualified to talk about the most effective social media strategies.


If you want to separate yourself from the noise on social media, this is one of the best marketing books to do so.

Key takeaways:

  1. Constantly experiment with your content and test it to find what works.
  2. Study and learn from people who have the success you want to attain.
  3. Create what your audience wants, not just what you want.

Brand Identity Essentials, Revised and Expanded: 100 Principles for Building Brands – Kevin Budelmann, Yang Kim

A lot has been written about brands, but brand builders often lack the structure and approach to make a difference.


Brand Identity Essentials lays a foundation for brand building, defining the tools and illustrating the construction of strong brands through examples of world-class design.


Written by brand experts Kevin Budelmann and Yang Kim of Peopledesign, this second edition is a major revision of the first, featuring hundreds of new images and content.


It includes a one-stop reference for connecting design elements and strategic branding concepts, a course curriculum for teaching the fundamentals of brand building, and brand audit checklists that can help guide brand decision making.

Key takeaways:

  1. Brand Identity Essentials serves as an everyday guide for leaders, managers, and creators who build brands. 
  2. Core brand design principles demonstrated through a clear organization and a variety of sources and examples from design leaders including Alan Cooper, Collins, Design Army, Multiple, Pentagram, and many others.
  3. A model for thinking about brand building that can help you make decisions and create systems. The Brand Identity Framework is a reference to help guide the everyday decisions brand builders make on their journey.

They Ask, You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer – Revised & Updated – Marcus Sheridan

This book is not based on theories and good ideas, it’s a definitive roadmap and framework that has been proven time and time again to work.


Author Marcus Sheridan says, “most companies won’t apply its principles due to fear, traditions, and an old-school mindset. If you really want to become the most trusted voice in your space, and I mean that, then this is your complete guide.”


This book will literally help you remove the barriers between sales and marketing and get the sales team to a place where they are not just part of the content production process, but rather they are using it in their sales process every single day.


This is one of the best marketing books because it doesn’t mince its words. It doesn’t beat around the bush. If you like frank, clear, and incisive language in a book that is built on common sense principles, you’ll love this book.

Key takeaways:

  1. Because today’s digital buyer has changed so much, we must be willing to address the subject (online) that no one else in the industry is willing to talk about – like cost, problems, comparisons, competitors, etc. This book shows exactly how to do this.
  2. Most ‘content marketing’ fails to reach its potential because it doesn’t involve the sales department as it should.
  3. This book will show you exactly the positions you will need to hire, what will cause you to fail, and what will lead to massive success.

The Business of Social Media: Clients and Customers Not Just Likes & Followers – Angela K. Denton

As an entrepreneur or small business owner, social media marketing can be extremely overwhelming.


This book is a beginner’s guide to learning how to post on social media, including what to post, when to post and how to target your message to the right people to improve your business. 


Social media marketing is more than just getting likes and followers, it’s about building relationships to gain clients and customers.


There are helpful checklists and tips throughout the book that let you know what to do and when to do it.

Key takeaways:

  1. Once you learn the basics of each platform the overwhelming aspect of social media becomes manageable. You can create a digital strategy that increases your brand awareness and brings in paying clients.
  2. Pitch to your niche – you need to know who your ideal customer is and how to present your information in a compelling way. This is key to your online presence.
  3. You don’t need to be on every social media platform – you just need to be on the ones where your potential clients and customers are. Know your niche and you will know where you need to be.

500 Social Media Marketing Tips: Essential Advice, Hints and Strategy for Business – Andrew Macarthy

For time-pressed entrepreneurs and small business owners, 500 Social Media Marketing Tips offers a one-stop, no fluff destination for all the information needed to build and manage a successful social media strategy across all the biggest platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 


Updated every month since March 2012, 500 Social Media Marketing Tips has been trusted by nearly 100,000 people as a guide to successfully navigate the often overwhelming world of social media marketing.


It provides a clearly defined way to grow your business, with a wealth of actionable tips and advice on each and every page.

Key takeaways:

  1. Always up-to-date social media marketing strategy – ebook updated monthly, paperback every quarter.
  2. Perfect for busy entrepreneurs – dip in and dip out into any section with hundreds of tips and strategies ordered by platform and type.
  3. Trusted by tens of thousands of readers since 2012, with hundreds of genuine Amazon reviews.

Faster, Smarter, Louder: Master Attention in a Noisy Digital Market – Aaron Agius & Gian Clancy

Faster, Smarter, Louder is all about building a brand that produces genuine, authentic relationships. According to author Aaron Agius, “it’s the antidote to the noise we’re seeing in competitive markets and increasing ad rates that make it hard to do PPC profitably.


If you can connect directly with people, you own that relationship, and you can use it to drive sales.”


It isn’t as easy as that sounds, of course, but the book dives deep into the strategies that Agius and Clancy use to do exactly that with Louder’s clients.


Faster, Smarter, Louder shares case studies on what creating credibility and validating your brand looks like in practice.


The book walks you through the steps we’ve taken to build thought leadership for our agency and our clients, but it isn’t going to work for you unless you commit to the long-term investment proper branding requires.

Key takeaways:

  1. Building a successful brand comes down to credibility and validation – and it doesn’t make sense to invest heavily in digital marketing until you have those two elements locked down. 
  2. Successful brands are built on a thousand micro judgements. It’s only by engaging in a personal, human way that you produce the nurtured audience that drives sales and advocates for you to others.
  3. There are no ‘quick fixes’ for brand building.

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

Content Marketing for PR helps you to gain a different perspective on content marketing.


When you look at content marketing through a PR lens, it opens up broader opportunities for businesses and organisations to build visibility, influence and trust for their brand.


Public relations practitioner and marketing speaker Trevor Young outlines in this book how you can grow your influence within your industry, increase leads and sales and reduce the customer’s buying cycle.


He also shows you how to humanise your company, deepen your brand’s connection with its customers and build trust in your marketplace.

Key takeaways:

  1. Standing out, getting noticed and resonating is a growing challenge for businesses and organizations, large and small.
  2. Trust and reputation have never been more important in business
  3. Readers will learn how to harness the power of both public relations and content marketing to build visibility, influence, trust, and credibility for their business, organisation or personal brand.

Ultimate Guide to Link Building – Eric Ward & Garrett French

Hyperlinks – the underlined text you click to go to another website – continue to play an outsized role in Google’s ranking algorithm. 


Both the quantity and quality of links pointing to a website’s page have direct impact on which keywords that page will rank for as well as which ranking position. 


‘Link Building’ is the practice of earning these rank-impacting links from the right websites in your vertical.


The 2nd Edition of the Ultimate Guide to Link Building (pre-order available now on Amazon) is absolutely the most comprehensive Link Building resource available, with detailed guidance from leading practitioners.

Key takeaways:

  1. Links play a key role in how Google determines which pages, from which websites to display for which keywords.
  2. Link building is a practical, approachable discipline. Whether you’re solo, running an agency or working in house at a Fortune 500 you can find actionable link building strategies, tactics and expert tips that will make a difference in how your website ranks.
  3. Getting started in link building can be profoundly simple – just check out the newly-added section on “building links from people you already know.”

Pick up your favourite marketing book!

Now that you know what these marketing books are all about, it’s time to go and get the one that you think will help you the most (maybe you could do with all of them!).

Inside each book is a treasure trove of information that is guaranteed to give you the tools to build a successful marketing strategy, time and time again.

Books for every type of marketing

Whether you’re involved in content marketing, digital marketing, or social media marketing, there’s something in here for you. Our ‘Creative Ideas to Increase Sales‘ e-book covers all of these while detailing how to create conversions.

And if you don’t have the time to read a marketing book, you can use business audiobooks while traveling or jogging to save your precious time.

If you’re looking to further expand your marketing skills you can consider enrolling in a digital marketing course. A good course will help understand how the different marketing techniques can essentially work together for the best possible results.

If you’ve read a superb marketing book that you just can’t put down and you’d like to share it with us, tweet us @getdesignwizard.

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