The best books to help you understand how marketing has changed

Keith A. Quesenberry Author Of Social Media Strategy: Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations in the Consumer Revolution
By Keith A. Quesenberry

Who am I?

After 17 years in the advertising industry, I became a professor to teach what I learned in practice. Only then did I start reflecting, researching, and discovering why we were successful in some efforts and not in others. From that perspective, I’ve been crafting new ways to approach marketing that are not based on what worked in the past, but on what works now in light of the dramatic changes to the field. Within marketing, I focus on social media strategy, digital marketing, and storytelling.

I wrote...

Social Media Strategy: Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations in the Consumer Revolution

By Keith A. Quesenberry,

Book cover of Social Media Strategy: Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations in the Consumer Revolution

What is my book about?

Marketing communications is changing and what used to drive results doesn’t work today. Old methods are waning while new methods like social media become more important. But the concepts and techniques of the past don’t apply to the new. To understand marketing on social media you need to understand how marketing is changing and why. Otherwise, you’re using old strategies in new realities and chasing short-term trends that fail to produce lasting results. To be successful you need a process and framework that creates a social media strategy unique to your company’s situation, competitors, and customers. This book is that blueprint for digital marketing, advertising, and public relations practice in a world where the consumer has taken control.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Marketing 5.0: Technology for Humanity

By Philip Kotler, Hermawan Kartajaya, Iwan Setiawan

Book cover of Marketing 5.0: Technology for Humanity

Why did I love this book?

Philip Kotler, “The Father of Modern Marketing,” credited with developing the 4 Ps of the marketing mix is still contributing to the field. In this book with his co-authors, he builds upon the foundations he helped to set up decades ago to show us how the practice of marketing has evolved and where it is headed. You’ll learn the challenges marketers face in a digital world, new strategies for tech-powered marketing, and new tactics for leveraging marketing tech. What I really learned from this book is the practice of human-centric marketing where brands behave like humans treating customers as friends. It’s all about POV where value proposition messages become useful and valuable content.

By Philip Kotler, Hermawan Kartajaya, Iwan Setiawan

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marketing 5.0 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rediscover the fundamentals of marketing from the best in the business

In Marketing 5.0, the celebrated promoter of the "Four P's of Marketing," Philip Kotler, explains how marketers can use technology to address customers' needs and make a difference in the world.

In a new age when marketers are struggling with the digital transformation of business and the changing behavior of customers, this book provides marketers with a way to integrate technological and business model evolution with the dramatic shifts in consumer behavior that have happened in the last decade.

Following the pattern presented in his bestselling Marketing X.0 series,…

Book cover of This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See

Why did I love this book?

In this age of social media where the consumer has taken control, Seth Godin flips the marketing context. Go from paying to be seen to truly seeing your customers and you will earn their attention. Seth has a beautifully simple way of communicating big shifts in perspective. In this book, you’ll learn how to see marketing in a way that more aligns with the realities of today’s world. And you may feel better about your work realizing you don’t have to annoy, spam, and clickbait your way to success. Godin helped me understand how the social media marketing cycle helps to contribute beyond social media strategy. A brand community in social media helps a marketer be seen by customers who want to participate in multiple aspects of a business to help meet marketing objectives.

By Seth Godin,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked This Is Marketing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller & Instant New York Times Bestseller

A game-changing approach to marketing, sales, and advertising.

For the first time Seth Godin offers the core of his marketing wisdom in one compact, accessible, timeless package. This is Marketing shows you how to do work you're proud of, whether you're a tech startup founder, a small business owner, or part of a large corporation.

No matter what your product or service, this book will help you reframe how it's presented to the world, in order to meaningfully connect with people who want it. Seth employs his signature blend…

Book cover of Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins

Why did I love this book?

Marketing the old way took for granted that the company was in control. Now the consumer is in control. Mark Schaefer’s book will help you see the end of control and give you a manifesto for human-centered marketing. You’ll learn to see how your customers are part of your marketing department and how that is at the heart of success today. The good news for smaller brands is that winning in the rebellion doesn’t hinge on ad impressions, and big budgets, alone. Schaefer’s book helped me to see this new human-centered marketing from a more direct perspective. Instead of an evolution of the Four P’s he simply connects constant human truths to business success in “A Manifesto for Human-Centered Marketing” that ultimately leads to the new reality that your customers are your marketers.

By Mark W. Schaefer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marketing Rebellion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Are you overwhelmed by the breathtaking rate of change in the business world? Are confusing consumer trends, the unrelenting pace of technology, and the breakneck speed of digital marketing making you feel irrelevant and lost? Path-finding author Mark Schaefer provides an achievable and realistic framework to help you stay ahead of the curve by re-imagining marketing in a world where hyper-empowered consumers drive the business results. Marketing Rebellion will teach you: • How cataclysmic consumer trends are a predictable result of a revolution that started 100 years ago. • Why businesses must be built on human impressions instead of advertising…

Book cover of Hit Makers: How to Succeed in an Age of Distraction

Why did I love this book?

Consumers have greater control today over what they read, what they watch, and what they buy. If you want to be successful, you need to understand how people decide what they see. Derek Thompson takes us through research and examples to help reveal the psychology behind why we like what we like. In an age of media distraction, this is more important than ever. No marketing strategy will succeed if you can’t get people’s attention. Studying what makes a hit can give us clues to how to be seen. Hit Makers really puts into perspective the real challenge today of reaching a mass audience. You can’t. There are no more mass audiences for advertising or public relations. We have become a society of niche audiences. Until you realize and accept this your strategies will fail.

By Derek Thompson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Hit Makers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A Book of the Year Selection for Inc. and Library Journal

"This book picks up where The Tipping Point left off." -- Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of ORIGINALS and GIVE AND TAKE

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. Even the most brilliant ideas wither in obscurity…

Book cover of Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know

Why did I love this book?

A common theme I’ve noticed about companies that made a wrong turn or missed a trend and headed downhill is in a key moment they refused to rethink their perspective. It typically doesn’t come from ignorance but arrogance. They assume the formula they used to be successful in the past will always work in the future. Adam Grant wakes us up to the power of rethinking what we thought we learned. Only then will you be open enough to consider the type of new learning required to remain successful in our rapidly changing world. The main lesson I learned here is that too many of us feel there is only one answer and if we had success in the past, we think that is the only answer moving forward. Instead, ask questions that don’t have a single right answer. Consider different views and explore them to find new possibilities.

By Adam Grant,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Think Again as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times Bestseller

"THIS. This is the right book for right now. Yes, learning requires focus. But, unlearning and relearning requires much more-it requires choosing courage over comfort. In Think Again, Adam Grant weaves together research and storytelling to help us build the intellectual and emotional muscle we need to stay curious enough about the world to actually change it. I've never felt so hopeful about what I don't know."
-Brene Brown, Ph.D., #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dare to Lead

The bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals examines the critical art of rethinking:…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in marketing, technology, and pop culture?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about marketing, technology, and pop culture.

Marketing Explore 166 books about marketing
Technology Explore 106 books about technology
Pop Culture Explore 125 books about pop culture