The Best Digital Marketing Books

Focus on the core principles of digital
Manuel Castells

Asking what the best digital marketing books are, is a good question. But reading the ‘top 10 best digital marketing books’ or another good google search term, is not going to get you towards your goal of being a person who knows a lot about digital. This is the first article of a long series of articles I’m going to write on books that cover digital marketing and digitalization.

First, you become knowledgeable on digital (marketing) and digitalization by learning the digital tools out there and with a lot of trial and error. Forget the books for now. Preferably you experiment with these tools in combination with a good mentor or people around you who are working on sub-genres within digital day by day.

What works in digital (marketing) today might work perfectly fine from now up till two months from now, but things change fast. Books are written at a certain moment, and new information that comes out tomorrow cannot be added. Better is to see blogs, communities and other specialists who talk about their work online and experiment themselves as the best marketing books of the digital age. Forget about those hardcovers and try to focus at first on the core principles of digital: community building and creating engagement among your followers, analytics and big data, customer experience and customer journeys (funnels), advertising (Adwords and social advertising) and Search Engine Optimization. By just running these keywords through Google, it will give you plenty of info to start with.

Books are not totally irrelevant though, but try not to focus on those best digital marketing books out there with catchy phrases and headlines. In the end you try to make something (a website, a webshop, an advertisement, a community, an e-book) for a certain public. A public that consists of humans, just like you and me. So books about psychology and the human condition, about anthropology, about fear, hope and anger will learn you a lot more about how we strange creatures behave. And how we, in the core,  behave online is not a lot more different than how we behave in the supermarket, at the bus station, at christmas dinner or at the basketball court. Call it neuro marketing, call it something else. I just call it basic psychology. So:

  1. Learn up to date digital marketing tools, and experiment with them. All the time.
  2. Read books about us. Human beings. And how strange we are (and we are strange and complex).
Tools to experiment with and bloggers to follow

Let me give you a list of the first one. I use Trello for organizing my bookmarks, and every new digital tool that seems useful, I add to this list. When I find the time to experiment with it, I check if it works for me and if I need it. Its a list that is not categorized in a particular sub-genre. That does not matter for me that much. I want to learn about the broad genre of digital, and for me that means learning about everything that can be useful. Knowing more and more about different sub-genres, makes you a better specialist as well. It broadens your perspective. Some tools on my list:

To keep yourself up to date on the latest digital trends, I follow some people and companies who offer and post interesting stuff on a weekly basis. Among them:

Good reads
Carl Jung

For a good read on digital and digital marketing, I recommend the following books to start with. It’s ultimately human beings you are dealing with. Forget the best digital marketing books for now, and focus on psychology in combination with some other classic authors.

  1. All the books of Carl Gustav Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist.
  2. All the books of Sigmund Freud, the famous Austrian neurologist.
  3. The Rise of the Network Society, by Manuel Castells. It gives you a good sense on how we arrived in the age of information, digitalization and the network society. Read his other books as well for even a better overview.
  4. Saul Bellow – Seize the day. It teaches you that if you have a fantastic idea that you want to start: a great online project, a new online business or a marvelous idea that you want to roll out within the company you are working, seize it, do it, and start with it. Its that goal and perseverance that you need to succeed in the end. ‘Nature only knows one thing, and that’s the present. Present, present, eternal present, like a big, huge, giant wave – colossal, bright and beautiful, full of life and death, climbing into the sky, standing in the seas. You must go along with the actual, the Here-and-Now, the glory –
Series on books about digital marketing and digitalization

Also on goodreads? Lets connect here! If you want to join other digital specialists to learn more about digitalization and digital marketing: sign up here and add yourself to our Facebook group. This is a first article in a long series of articles on the best digital marketing books that I think can be valuable when you want to learn more about digital marketing and digitalization.