What Are The Best Marketing Books For An MBA Aspirant Or MBA Student?

Books are some of the most insightful and crucial tools to expand your understanding of the curriculum that is followed in a B-school. These books do not only help you understand concepts to give you an advantage before you join your B-school, but also can be used by professionals in their jobs.

Recommend your favourite books on Marketing that can help budding marketeers understand the world of Sales & Marketing better!

5 years ago

11 Answers

11 Answers
Adarsh Ranjan
Alumni | MDI Gurgaon

Marketing is learnt best through stories of how iconic brands stood the test of trying times and became the love marks for the consumer.  While marketing is the most dynamic domain, connecting the dots by going back in time and studying the changes in consumer behaviour, brand journeys always helps a marketeer plan his way forward. The following books capture the essence of Marketing the best: 
1.) Nawabs Nudes and Noodles 
2.) We are like this only
3.) Pandeymonium
4.) All Marketeers tell Stories
5.) Darwin's Brands. 
These books beautifully capture the journey of Indian nrands, consumers and campaigns over the past few decades.  
Hope that helps.  

5 years ago

4 Votes

Ashima Gaur
Alumni | Xavier Institute Of Management Xavier University Bhubaneswar

MBA Aspirant or student, you do not want to miss these marketing page-turners:

  1. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell: Malcolm Gladwell outshines at pinpointing a social phenomenon, be it snap judgments (Blink) or cultural epidemics (The Tipping Point); putting forward his thesis; and demonstrating his evidence through a series of engaging, short, and self-encapsulated histories.
  2. YouTility by Jay Baer: According to Baer (and many others), genuinely helping someone is the best way to inspire customer loyalty. Dive into many examples of companies doing just that with Baer’s ideas for creating the best possible relationship with your customers.
  3. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill:  Iuliano in his book specifically called out this one poignant idea: “Do more than you are paid for and soon you will be paid for more than you do.”. He explained that they are the first steps businessmen and women need to master.
  4. Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends by Martin Lindstrom: The author has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands, travelling all over the world to carefully observe every detail of human behavior in order to help define the latest product. Follow his journey by picking up this compelling read.
  5. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin:  Godin’s book is an update to the five P’s of marketing, using relevant brands to go beyond talking about how to be great and shows his readers how to be exceptional (much like a purple cow).
  6. The Content Code by Mark Schaefer: In the ever growing content marketing sphere, Schaefer does a great job of laying out a strategy for not only breaking through the noise but developing a highly engaged audience through content that drives what Schaefer calls content transmission.
  7. Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell: The tipping point, Gladwell writes, is the moment at which an idea catches on and spreads. He uses the metaphor of epidemics to describe these events, posing the questions, Why is it that some ideas or behaviors or products start epidemics and others don't? And what can we do to deliberately start and control positive epidemics of our own?
  8. It Happened In India: The Story of Pantaloons, Big Bazaar, Central and the Great Indian Consumer by Kishor Biyani, Dipayan Baishya: It's an amazing book for anyone who's looking at how Indian business work & how Indian consumers shop . It talks about not changing consumer behaviour but adapting your business model (physical stores) to it.
  9. Men of Steel: India's Business leaders in candid conversation by Vir Sanghvi: Men of Steel, got a nice compilation of interviews and author's interpretation about few business person who made there businesses bigger than themselves. It includes Ratan Tata, Nandan Nilekani, Azim Premji..etc names we are already familiar with and inaddition to that some new ones like Uday Kotak, Sunil Mittal, Subhash Chandra. Though the content and descriptions are very facile but gives you a generous amount of insight about the personality, there USP and challenge that made them what they are.
  10. Trust Me I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday: It's a narrative-creation machine in which the subtext is simple: make money. It’s easy to get in the media. Just lie, cheat and bribe. That’s what 25 year-old Ryan Holiday has revealed in this wildly controversial book.
5 years ago

2 Votes

Akash Ahuja
Alumni | Symbiosis Institute of Business Management

I think you can divide the books in market safely into 2 types. The ones that you can refer to for help with the curriculum, and the other where you can get general idea about how the concepts are applied in the real world. Some of the books of the second type would be:

1. Purple Cow by Seth Godin
2. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
3. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
4. Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
5. Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim
6. The Social Organism: A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life, by Oliver Luckett and Michael J. Casey
7. Top of Mind: Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter To You, by John Hall
Apart from this, there will be some books that will definitely help with the curriculum. A few of them are:
1.  Marketing Management by Philip Kotler
2. Marketing 4.0 by Philip Kotler
3. Sales Management –Decisions, Strategies and Cases by Richard R Still, Edward W. Cundiff and Norman A.P.Govani, Prentice Hall of India
4.  Consumer Behavior by Schiffman and Kanuk, Prentice Hall 
5. Rural Marketing : Text and Practice by Siddharta Raut and Pradeep Kashyap, Biztantra
6. Marketing Research – an applied orientation by Naresh Malhotra and Satyabhushan Dash, Pearson
7. Integrated Marketing Communications: Putting It Together & Making It Work by Don E. Schultz, Stanley I. Tannenbaum,‎ and Robert F. Lauterborn

Apart from this, some business related books I'd recommend for your curriculum would be:
1. Human Resource Managementby Aswathappa K, Tata McGraw Hill
2. Principles of Economics by G Mankiw
3. Statistics for Management by Levin and Rubin, Prentice-Hall, 2007
4. Project Management for Business & Technology (Principles & Practice) By Nicholas John M., Pearson Education

5 years ago

2 Votes

Anwesha Guru
Alumni | Indian Institute Of Management Indore

Being someone who has an avid interest in the domain of Sales and Marketing, here are a few books that I would recommend:

  1. Marketing Management by Philip Kotler and Kevin Lane Keller
  2. Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim
  3. Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson
  4. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout
  5. Contagious by Jonah Berger
  6. Youtility by Jay Baer
  7. Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore
  8. Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy
  9. This is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn To See by Seth Godin
  10. All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin
  11. Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
  12. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Garry Vaynerchuk
  13. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  14. They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today's Digital Consumer by Marcus Sheridan
  15. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
5 years ago

1 Votes

Ishma Raina
Alumni | Tata Institute of Social Sciences

For MBA Aspirants looking at specialising in functions other than Marketing must also have a conceptual domain knowledge of all verticals. To get a comprehensive understanding into Marketing for either interview preparation or theoretical understanding, the book on Marketing Management by Keller and Kotler is the literally the constitution. Currently in its 14th edition, the book aims at correlating concepts of marketing with real life examples. 
However, a major issue with a lot of the best books of marketing is that their examples are limited to developed nations. It is therefore important for any MBA Aspirant to have India specific examples for the concepts as well. 

5 years ago

1 Votes

Alumni | IIM Lucknow (Since 1984)

Here goes the checklist for any marketing enthusiast:

  1. Pandeymonium by Piyush Pandey
  2. Purple Cow by Seth Godin
  3. How brands grow by Byron Sharp
  4. Buyology by Martin Lindstrom
  5. We are like that only by Rama Bijapurkar

Marketing Management by Philip Kotler and Kevin Lane Keller is a must to cover the fundamentals.
Other readings:

  1. Business Standard 
  2. Blogs: Hubspot, Seth Godins, Crazyegg
5 years ago

1 Votes

Srijoni Nandy
Alumni | XLRI Jamshedpur

Having studied Human Resources for over a year now, Marketing is a field I am not very closely related to. When we were taught Marketing in our third term, I realised my uncanny interest in the subject because a part of it dealt with human behaviour which has always intrigued me. When I asked my friends, who were inducted into the field two terms prior to me, that which books should be referred to for this subject, they all answered in unison, Kotler.

Kotler covers all the aspects of marketing as well as sales. The book gives real life applications to the marketing theories that are taught. Another unique feature which makes it a favorite amongst all the B-school students and professors is its ability to connect all the aspects of a business, such as supply chain, finance, etc, and shows us the marketing perspective for the same.

5 years ago

1 Votes

Ritwik Raje
Alumni | MICA

While there are many books that are on Marketing, to understand brands and how their business models and marketing tactics changed the world, there are very few books which talk about the softer side of business - understanding your consumers.
My favorite books in that field would be (in no particular order) - 
1. Hooked - Nir Eyal
2. Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
3. Sapiens - Yusuf Noah Harari
4. Crossing the Chasm - Geoffrey Moore
5. Thinking Fast and slow - Daniel Kahneman
These books will help you understand who you are marketing for, what their thought process is, where do they come from, where they are going. They tell you the story of your consumer, the nuances that cant be figured by data alone.

5 years ago

1 Votes

  • Sajal Suri

    I feel marketing is more about what you "see" rather than what you "read". Also, I am not a big fan of Kotler because all the examples in the book are of International brands and thus one might not be able to relate to the book at times. Some good reads for marketers would be Buy.Ology my market lindstrom The Anatomy of Buzz by Emanuel Rosen Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads by Luke Sullivan Great Leads: The Six Easiest Ways to Start Any Sales Message by Michael Masterson

Alumni | Indian Institute Of Management Ranchi

The above authors have done justice to the answer already. You must already have enough reading list by now, However, more the merrier! :)
Here is a list of some of the books that will surely add immense value to your curiosity in marketing.

1. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk by Al Ries, Jack Trout
That’s an absolute classic from 1993. Most of the laws remain unchanged to this day.

2. Influence: Science and Practice by Robert Cialdini
A more scientific approach to persuading other people - that's what marketing boils down to after you have someone's attention. Easy to digest nonetheless.

3. Marketing Management by Philip Kotler, Kevin Lane Keller
A little traditional approach - however, it's still quite valid in today's world.

4.Geoffrey Moore - Crossing The Chasm
This one's about how tech companies should handle the transition from early adopter markets to mature markets. Value: basically a blueprint for success, great for salespeople and marketers in tech companies.

5.The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More
This book explains in detail a trend that used to be the future but now is at full swing with nearly infinite inventories of places like Alibaba, Netflix or Amazon.

6. Start with Why by Simon Sinek 
You want to build market-share, you start with why! Why should a customer buy from you vs your competitors? It goes beyond the 4 Ps and into the mind of your customer and explains why customers behave the way they do when they talk/buy about/from a company.

Happy Reading :)

5 years ago

0 Votes

Ritesh Bhakre

Following books are a must read for both MBA aspirants and students alike to be able to cultivate a solid foundation in Marketing and tread the streets of Sales and be able to close with finesse:
1) All Marketers are liars- Seth Godin
2) The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk!- Al Ries, Jack Trout
3) Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind- Al Ries, Jack Trout, Philip Kotler
4) Your Brand, The Next Media Company- Michael Brito
5) Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator- Ryan Holiday
6) Ogilvy on Advertising- David Ogilvy

But before you read any of these, you've got to have your fundamentals right by reading Philip Kotler's Marketing Management.

5 years ago

0 Votes

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