23 Books that will teach you everything that a degree in Marketing...

23 Books that will teach you everything that a degree in Marketing doesn’t!


The field of marketing is evolving at the speed of light, in the past 10 years new marketing techniques, most especially in the field of digital marketing, have surfaced and have drastically changed the way businesses interact with their customers. Thanks in large part to the rise of the Internet.

Not surprisingly the skills marketing departments look for has drastically changed.

However, with the exception of a few universities, the marketing degree has so far remained relatively unchanged. Leading many marketing students to be ill prepared for real marketing Jobs.

The typical marketing degree ill consist of traditional courses like Marketing Research, Consumer Behaviour, Marketing Management, Selected Topics in marketing, Marketing Strategy, International Marketing, Retail & Channel management, Services Marketing, Integrated marketing Comm and Sales Management. But falls short when it comes to modern marketing principles and techniques, most of which are related to digital marketing.

Marketing students, like myself, should prepare themselves for the real world by doing some extra reading out of class on the things that they don’t teach in it. Here are a few ideas on where you can get started.

1. Marketing metrics

Marketing metrics simply is the framework that is used to evaluate the performance of a marketing campaign. The principles of marketing course usually touch on ROI, in terms of evaluating performance and define it by this equation.

But stops short of explaining more granular metrics, what they show, and why they’re important.

Brand managers will analyse different metrics than event marketers and event marketers will analyse different metrics from the executives. Using the wrong set of metrics to evaluate performance leads to poor decision making while some metrics will be completely meaningless even though they can be applied to the situation (These are called ‘Vanity metrics’).

Point is, having a firm understanding of which metrics are important to a specific campaign and how to use them is key to developing a successful marketing strategy.


  • The definitive guide to marketing metrics and analytics by Marketo READ.
  • Data-Driven Marketing: The 15 Metrics Everyone in Marketing Should Knowby Mark Jeffery READ.
  • Marketing Analytics: Strategic Models and Metrics by Stephan Sorger READ.

Additional resources:

  • Popcornmetrics’ marketing analytics Blog READ.
  • How to Make Sure You Properly Use Your Marketing Budget By Tech.co READ.
  • 12 Marketing Metrics Your Boss Probably doesn’t need to hear about by Hubspot READ.

2. Data Analytics

Data analytics, not to be confused with marketing metrics, is the process of collecting raw data with the purpose of drawing conclusions about that information. If marketing metrics are the numbers we measure then data analytics is the process of getting those numbers in the first place.

“Data drives decisions”

The ability to analyse data is a soft skill that we all have naturally and you’ll definitely have a strong foundation on this if you’ve taken a statistics class. For marketers though, what’s more important than knowing the theory of analysing data is knowledge of how to use an analytics tool, such as Google Analytics, KissMetrics or Mixpanel.

Anyone can draw conclusions from a chart in a report, but it takes a skilled marketer to create custom reports based on your objectives and the type of information you want to find out. More than ever marketers are using data to drive decisions and rightly so. Imagine if you were the boss of a company and you’re employee brought a proposal to you but didn’t back it up with any hard data, are you going to seriously consider the proposal? didn’t think so.


  • Measure what matters eBook by Kissmetrics READ.
  • An introduction to inbound marketing analytics eBook by Hubspot READ.

additional resources:

  • Google Analytics online course & certification Online course.
  • Data analytics course by Segment Online course.
  • Analytics for All: Beginners to Experts by Udemy Online course.
  • 12 must read analytics blogs by Crazy egg READ.

3. Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is fast becoming the most effective strategy when doing business online. The words “inbound marketing” were first spoken in 2006, Since then inbound marketing has turned from an idea to a strategy to a field of marketing in its own right.

Inbound marketing is all about attracting customers by creating and sharing valuable content. Inbound marketing strategies include content marketing, email marketing, Search engine optimisation and marketing, social media marketing, landing pages, CRM and more. So much so that I couldn’t list out all the books and resources relating to these strategies without creating a book myself!

so I’ll list out only those pertaining specifically to inbound marketing and you can dig deeper into a specific topic within inbound marketing in your own time.


  • Inbound Marketing, Revised and Updated: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online by Brian Halligan READ.


  • Explanation of what is inbound marketing by Hubspot READ.
  • Inbound marketing online course & certification by Hubspot Online course.
  • Hubspot’s inbound marketing blog READ.
  • An introduction to inbound marketing analytics eBook by Hubspot READ.
  • Inbound marketing community HERE.
  • Primer by Google Mobile app.

4. Copywriting

Copywriting refers to the written content used in marketing and sales materials conveyed through online and print media.

“you don’t need to be a good writer to be a good copywriter”

Writing copy is one of the most important skills a marketer should develop, however, it is seldom taught at colleges, and if it is it is usually lumped together with other topics as part of the Advertising or Advertising management course. Not that that is a bad thing. Due to its lack of depth its understandable the topic of copywriting does not contain enough material to warrant a whole course on it.

This actually makes copywriting one of the quicker marketing skills to learn; and contrary to what some folks might tell you, you don’t need to be a good writer to be a good copywriter. You just need to know how to persuade people with words.

In addition to this, copywriting is a rare case where its actually beneficial that it isn’t widely taught as part of the marketing degree as college professors are often terrible copywriters.


  • The definitive guide to copywriting by neil patel READ.
  • How to Write a Good Advertisement: A Short Course in Copywriting by Victor Schwab READ.
  • Copywriting 101 — How to craft compelling copy eBook by CopybloggerREAD.
  • How to write magnetic headlines eBook by Copyblogger READ.

This article was written by Ayodeji Afolabi on Medium.




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