The best books on marketing strategy

Niraj Dawar Author Of Tilt: Shifting Your Strategy from Products to Customers
By Niraj Dawar

Who am I?

I have taught marketing strategy to MBAs and Executives at Business Schools and companies around the world, and have consulted for major companies in financial services, consumer packaged goods, software, and others for over three decades. Some of my Harvard Business Review articles are among the review’s bestsellers, and my book on marketing strategy, TILT: Shifting Your Strategy from Products to Customers, received the best business book award in 2014. I run a marketing strategy consultancy at Brand Strategy Group with clients on three continents. 


I wrote...

Tilt: Shifting Your Strategy from Products to Customers

By Niraj Dawar,

Book cover of Tilt: Shifting Your Strategy from Products to Customers

What is my book about?

This book is an antidote to product-centricity. Businesses in technology, pharma, materials, commodities, and even financial services all suffer from a turgid obsession with their product. Everything within the business is defined by the product – in fact, if you ask managers what business they’re in, they’ll talk about the product. Measures of success are product-based (units sold, market share), behaviors are linked to product moved (quotas), and even innovation is defined solely in terms of better products.

TILT helps you rethink not just the product focus, but what an organization should look like to become more customer-centric. It takes you through the thought process with sparkling examples and practical checklists. If you want to make your business more customer-centric, start with this book.

The books I picked & why

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Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

By A.G. Lafley, Roger L. Martin,

Book cover of Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

Why this book?

This is your strategy playbook: it will teach you to think systematically about the amorphous subject of strategy. It is both concrete and an eye-opener on what strategy is and can do for an organization. Use it as a step-by-step guide to think about strategy, and use it also to understand what strategy is.


The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads

By Tim Wu,

Book cover of The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads

Why this book?

Marketing today is a battle for the customer’s mind-space. In Attention Merchants, Tim Wu lays out the stakes, the players, and the methodologies they use to grab and grasp space in the consumers’ mind. Marketing has transformed, for better or worse, from a game of cajoling the consumer through alluring branding and advertising to discipline of converting consumers’ attention into purchase and loyalty behavior. Tim Wu describes how this is done. While not intended as a “how-to” book, it is a must-read for any marketer with a conscience.


Blown to Bits: How the New Economics of Information Transforms Strategy

By Philip Evans, Thomas S. Wurster,

Book cover of Blown to Bits: How the New Economics of Information Transforms Strategy

Why this book?

This book described the economics of the internet age as the web was taking off. It remains a classic in that it not only predicted many of the transformations that were to play out on the web, including social media, and it continues to be useful as a template for predicting the coming transformations that will be wrought by Web3 and Blockchain.


The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

By Malcolm Gladwell,

Book cover of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Why this book?

This book has stood the test of time in its description of how small changes have large impact and make things (products, trends, ideas) take off. Chock full of examples and stories, as you would expect from Gladwell, this is a well-crafted, well-told, and coherent idea.


Nudge

By Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein,

Book cover of Nudge

Why this book?

A large part of what we buy today is information or products wrapped in information. How that information is presented changes the experience of consumption. Thaler shows how presenting the information differently (sometimes even consumers presenting the information to themselves) can change the choices we make. This is a book about how the consumer mind works.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, and The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals if you like this list.