Executive Education

These Are The 10 Best Books On Digital Marketing

Think of these as joyrides for shut-in digital marketers. Right now, unfortunately, you’re probably sheltering-at-home, trying to do as much as you can from your laptop or your phone, sorting out the kids’ online classes, making sure your parents and friends are okay…look, it’s a hard time, but it’s also extra time.

You’re not commuting, your gym is closed, trade shows and conferences have been canceled…the best thing you can do right now is use whatever extra time you have to educate yourself, to read more, get more done, sharpen your skills. One of the best ways to do this is to read. If you’re a digital marketing professional, here’s a great list of books to help you gear up for what’s next while you’re forced to lie fallow. These are in no order, so just hop in and get started.

  1. The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott.

    For marketers, The New Rules of Marketing and PR shows you how to leverage the potential that Web-based communication offers your business: you can speak directly to customers and buyers, and establish a personal link with the people who make your business work. This one-of-a-kind guide includes a step-by-step action plan for harnessing the power of the Internet to create compelling messages, get them in front of customers, and lead those customers into the buying process.

  2. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk.
    New York Times bestselling author and social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk shares hard-won advice on how to connect with customers and beat the competition. A mash-up of the best elements of Crush It! and The Thank You Economy with a fresh spin, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is a blueprint of social media marketing strategies that really works.
  3. Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses by Joe Pulizzi.
    In Content Inc., one of today’s most sought-after content-marketing strategists reveals a new model for entrepreneurial success. Simply put, it’s about developing valuable content, building an audience around that content, and creating a product for that audience. Notice a shift?
  4. Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson.
    Nothing “goes viral.” If you think a popular movie, song or app came out of nowhere to become a word-of-mouth success in today’s crowded media environment, you’re missing the real story. Each blockbuster has a secret history of power, influence, dark broadcasters and passionate cults that turn some new products into cultural phenomena. The most brilliant ideas can wither in obscurity if they fail to connect with the right network. The consumers who matter most aren’t the early adopters; it’s their friends, followers and imitators, your audience’s audience.
  5. Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger.
    Apologies for the title. In Contagious, Jonah Berger reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. Discover how six basic principles drive all sorts of things to become contagious, from consumer products and policy initiatives, to workplace rumors and YouTube videos. Learn how a luxury steakhouse found popularity through the lowly cheesesteak, why anti-drug commercials might have actually increased drug use, and why more than 200 million consumers shared a video about one of the most boring products there is: a blender.
  6. Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less by Joe Pulizzi.
    Epic Content Marketing takes you step by step through the process of developing stories that inform, entertain and compel customers to act (without actually telling them to). Epic content, distributed to the right person at the right time, is how to truly capture the hearts and minds of customers. It’s how to position your business as a trusted expert in its industry: epic content is what customers share and talk about.
  7. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries (Author), Jack Trout (Author), Philip Kotler (Foreword).
    The first book to deal with the problems of communicating to a skeptical, media-blitzed public, Positioning describes a revolutionary approach to creating a “position” in a prospective customer’s mind, one that reflects a company’s strengths and weaknesses and those of its competitors. Writing in their trademark witty, fast-paced style, advertising gurus and world-renowned marketing consultants Al Ries and Jack Trout explain how to:
    Make and position an industry leader so its name and message wheedle their way into the collective subconscious of your audience – and stays there!
    Position a follower so it can’t occupy your leadership niche.
    Keep a second product from riding the coattails of an established one.
  8. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk! by Al Ries and Jack Trout.
    As Ries and Trout point explain, you can build an impressive airplane, but it will never leave the ground if you ignore the laws of physics, especially gravity. Why then, they ask, shouldn’t there also be laws of marketing that must be followed to launch and maintain winning brands? In The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, Ries and Trout offer a compendium of twenty-two innovative rules for understanding and succeeding in the international marketplace. From the Law of Leadership to The Law of the Category to The Law of the Mind, these valuable insights stand the test of time and present a clear path to successful products. Violate them at your own risk.
  9. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath.
    Made to Stick will transform the way you communicate. It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures): the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of the Mother Teresa Effect; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice…absolutely fascinating.
  10. This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See by Seth Godin.
    No matter what your product or service, this book will help you reframe how it’s presented to the world so you can meaningfully connect it with the people who want it. Seth Godin employs his signature blend of insight, observation and memorable examples to teach you the following:

    – How to build trust and permission with your target market.
    – The art of positioning – deciding not only whom it’s for but for whom it’s not.
    – Why the best way to achieve your goals is to help others become who they want to be.
    – Why the old approaches to advertising and branding no longer work.
    – The surprising role of tension in any decision to buy (or not).
    – How marketing is, at its core, about the stories we tell ourselves about our social status.

Look, no one’s happy right now (except cats and dogs, because we’re all finally at home all day). Yes, we’re stuck at home, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be dynamic and productive. This is a great time to not only catch up, but to get ahead. Read, study…this can’t last forever, and you need to get ready for what’s on the other side of this. Think of yourself as in a kind of cocoon right now. You will emerge, and how you emerge is up to you.


Written by Scott Hirsch. Have you read?
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Scott Hirsch
Scott Hirsch, founder and CEO of Media Direct, is a serial entrepreneur and an internationally recognized expert in digital data marketing. Scott Hirsch is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. He can be found on and Linkedin.