Summer Must-Reads: 10 Marketing Books to Throw in Your Beach Bag

Modern Marketing


There are three things that symbolize summer for me: watermelon, warm nights, and a very full Kindle. And while I’m not opposed to classic beach reads (murder mysteries, romance novels, etc.), I feel twice as proud of myself when I’m enjoying books I can apply back at work — it’s the best of both worlds.

So whether you’re up for a summer get-away, or just a relaxing weekend at home, here are my ten picks for books that will help you return to your desk both refreshed and inspired:

1. The New Rules of Marketing and PR

The New Rules of Marketing and PR

The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly – David Meerman Scott (Marketing and Sales Strategist)

Want to learn techniques for communicating with potential buyers, increasing your online presence, and driving sales revenue? Then don’t miss this bestselling how-to guide. This 4th edition includes case studies, actionable tips, and updated strategies for all the major social media channels, including Instagram and Pinterest.

2. Highly Recommended


Highly Recommended: Harnessing the Power of Word of Mouth and Social Media to Build Your Brand and Your Business – Paul M. Rand (President and CEO of Zocalo Group)

In today’s highly social world, consumers rely on word of mouth more than ever when making a buying decision. Highly Recommended shows you how to find out where and what your customers are saying about your brand, create a “shareable story,” and identify new methods to reach your digital audience.

3. Jab, Jab, Right Hook

jab jab right hook

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World – Gary Vaynerchuk

So you want to knock out your competition and land the sale? Well it’s going to take more than one attempt. Gary Vaynerchuk outlines the winning combination of social strategies (i.e. jabs and right hooks) and high-quality content, helping you present the perfect message at the right time.

4. Your Network is Your Net Worth

your network

Your Network is Your Net Worth: Unlock the Hidden Power of Connections for Wealth, Success, and Happiness in the Digital Age  – Porter Gale

Virgin America’s former VP of Marketing, Porter Gale, explores the power of networking in this thought-provoking, enjoyable read. Gale shares inspiring tales of well-known executives and personal anecdotes to create a framework for using connections to achieve professional growth.

5. Content Rules

content rules

Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business  – Ann Handley (Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs) and C.C. Chapman (Founder, Digital Dads)

Regardless of the size of your team, or the amount of brand new content you have to share, you’ll establish relevance and credibility if you follow the ‘Content Rules’ outlined by Handley and Chapman. Take their advice, and you’ll soon be producing top-notch content that gets your brand noticed!

6. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini (Professor of Psychology and Marketing, Arizona State University)

As a marketer, I’m always trying to think about what makes people act (i.e. click an email, attend a webinar, download an ebook, etc.). This book will teach you the six critical principles of influence you can employ to be more persuasive – a definite must-read regardless of what industry you’re in.

7. Keeping Up with the Quants


Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics – Thomas H. Davenport and Jinho Kim

As a manager in any industry, you probably understand why interpreting data is a crucial part of business decisions. For those of us who don’t have a background in quantitative analysis, Keeping Up with the Quants will help you become more data-driven and metrics-literate (Note: I made that term up).

8. Sexy Little Numbers

sexy little numbersSexy Little Numbers: How to Grow Your Business Using the Data You Already Have – Dimitri Maex

Another great book on using data to generate profit is Sexy Little Numbers. In an easy-to-understand manner, Maex outlines how to turn what may seem like meaningless numbers into valuable information that improves your bottom line.

9. Epic Content Marketing

Epic Content Marketing cover

Epic Content Marketing : How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less – Joe Pulizzi (Founder, Content Marketing Institute)

“Marketing Less” isn’t a term most marketers hear every day, but Joe Pulizzi  (aka the “Godfather of Content Marketing”) illustrates how to capture the attention of your audience with a focused content strategy. Check out this page-turner to get a complete overview of content marketing strategy, and to learn processes you can immediately implement.

 10. Contagious


Contagious: Why Things Catch On – Jonah Berger

Why do some YouTube videos go viral, and others get a handful of views (mostly from your immediate family)? Why did I decide it was a great idea to wear velour pants with JUICY written on the butt when I was 13? Is that inappropriate? In his book, Jonah Berger explains how and why certain things catch on, which can help you not only understand trends better, but also employ these tactics to make your own product catch on.

What are some of your marketing must-reads? What’s going in your beach bag (or briefcase) this summer? Feel free to leave additional suggestions in the comments!