As the saying goes, “knowledge is power.” The same is true for product marketers.
Regardless of whether you’re a product manager or executive, there’s always room to grow.
A superb way to grow your knowledge is to read books. But if you’re searching high and low to find new books to add to your reading list, you might’ve exhausted Amazon’s top sellers’ list for “business books.”
That’s why we’ve collated 15 must-read product marketing books you should read, including:
- Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore
- Obviously Awesome by April Dunford
- The Product Manager’s Survival Guide by Steven Haines
- Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
- Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank
- The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
- Priceless: The Hidden Psychology of Value by William Poundstone
- Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller
- Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout
- The Sales Acceleration Formula by Mark Roberge
- Give and Take by Adam Grant
- 42 Rules of Product Marketing by Phil Burton, Gary Parker & Brian Lawley
- To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel Pink
- All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin
Click the links above to jump to a product marketing book, or continue scrolling to learn more.
1. Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore
Wondering why this book make the top spot? (Spoiler alert: It’s not just because it’s been called the “Bible of Product Marketing” by Tom Byres, director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program.)
Some readers even named it “essentially what makes or breaks a business.”
Crossing the Chasm was written back in 1998, but its contents are timeless. The book was written by Geoffrey Moore—a consultant who’s worked with huge brands like Salesforce, Microsoft, and Intel.
The book throws outdated product marketing tactics out the window, and focuses on the value that technology can provide product marketers.
It will teach you how to close the gap between early adopters and early majority—and essentially, build (and market) the best product in your industry.
2. Obviously Awesome by April Dunford
Dunford has headed up 16 product launches, and currently works as a consultant for brands who need help with their positioning. In her book, Obviously Awesome, Dunford shares this experience—so you can learn from her product marketing wins (and losses.)
Obviously Awesome teaches you how to connect with your audience, choose the best market, and use positioning to your advantage.
It also shows you how product marketers can understand their audience—and use those pre-purchase behaviors to convince them that your product is the best option.
3. The Product Manager’s Survival Guide by Steven Haines
New to product marketing? This book, authored by Steven Haines, will be your new go-to.
Aimed specifically at product managers, this survival guide covers everything you need to know about the industry. Haines shares the best practices he’s learnt, along with practical on-the-job advice you can use to accelerate your career.
But don’t cross this off your reading list if you aren’t a product manager. If you’re an executive or someone interested in learning about product marketing, it’s a great way to boost your knowledge.
(Who knows, maybe someday you could use it to become a product manager.)
4. Hooked: A Guide to Building Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
Successful product marketers know how to weave their products into their customers lives. Customers resolve their pre-purchase questions, then question “how did I ever live without this product?”
This book by Nir Eyal will teach you how to do that. It goes behind the brain of your target customer and dives deep into their habits—like what makes them tick. As a product marketer, you can then use this insight to uplevel your strategy.
(Hey, if the techniques are good enough for companies like Twitter and Pinterest, they’re good enough for us.)
5. Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank
Amazon have named this book “one of the most influential and practical business books of all time.”
Why? Because this book has influenced 10,000 startups—purely due to the fact it kicked off the idea that startups aren’t just smaller versions of large corporations. They’re totally different, and their product marketing strategy should reflect that.
In the book, Steve Blank shares a four-step customer development process. It’s a product marketers’ best friend… Especially if you’re working at a startup and you’re launching a new product for the first time.
6. The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman
To effectively market a product, you need to be able to communicate key things about it—such as its features, price, and use cases. This communication is a skill any product marketer needs. And, this book can help you develop that skill.
The Design of Everyday Things gives a scientific look behind why things we use every day are designed the way they were. Things like light switches, oven burners, and sliding doors are all discussed by cognitive scientist Donald Norman.
The result? A way to design your product, and communicate those features in your product marketing campaigns.
There’s a reason why Patrick Whitney and Robert C. Pew of the Illinois Institute of Technology said:
“The new examples and ideas about design and product development make it essential reading.”
7. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
The startup mindset is well-documented in the online business world. It’s the theory that every decision matters, and growth needs to be fast. Otherwise, you’ll be like any other startup—and fail.
Although The Lean Startup isn’t specifically written for product marketers, it does have some principles that you can apply to your work.
Eric Riles shares the concept behind learning what you customers want, testing your vision, and making adjustments. Each three of those things are likely playing a role in your product launches.
The best part? You don’t have to be a startup to extract value from this business book, as Intuit’s Scott Cook explains:
“This book is the guided tour of the key innovative practices used inside Google, Toyota, and Facebook, that work in any business.”
8. Priceless: The Hidden Psychology of Value by William Poundstone
The perception of your business matters when you’re launching a new product.
In this book, William Poundstone shares the concept behind value, and questions things we think are “normal”—like why so many prices end in 9.
You should have this product marketing book on your reading list if you’re about to kick off a product launch. It will teach you how to position your product as valuable… and therefore, be able to increase the price you’re selling it for.
9. Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller
Storytelling is powerful. Not only is it proven to help engage your audience, but you can convince customers to build strong relationships with your brand long after they purchase. (This boosts customer loyalty—an essential thing for any product marketer to conquer.)
In this book, Donald Miller shares how you can do that. He shares the science behind storytelling, and the formula you can use to write stories that your audience will actually take notice of.
The goal? To get more people buying your product.
10. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout
Did you know that the average person sees 5,000 advertisements per day? Combine that with the 46 push notifications they’re receiving daily, and you’ll see why you’ll need to stand out to make sales as a product marketer.
This book, authored by Jack Trout, teaches you how to do that. You’ll learn how (and why) your target audience are trying to control their attention. The answer will help you market your product, and stand out… Even if they’re super busy.
Not only that, but this product marketing book shares a strategy you can rely on to position your business. After reading, you’ll know which market to pick—and the customers you’re going after.
11. The Sales Acceleration Formula by Mark Roberge
You’ll need to rely on a handful of metrics to become a successful product marketer. This book shares the metrics you’ll need to treat as your holy grail, and shares a step-by-step process to analyze your campaigns.
If there’s anyone to learn this from, it’s Roberge. He previously held the title of SVP of Worldwide Sales and Services at HubSpot, and guided them towards their billion-dollar valuation. (Considering they started as a three-person team, that’s good going.)
By the end of this book, you’ll know Roberge’s best techniques to sell—no matter what product you’re pushing.
12. Give and Take by Adam Grant
Although this isn’t technically a product marketing book, we’ve added it to this list because it teaches you the foundations of relationships. All sales are made on relationships. So, you don’t think about them when planning and executing your campaigns.
The concept that Grant shares is “give and take.” Essentially, you can’t expect someone to purchase your product if you’re not giving anything valuable in return.
You’ll need to communicate this pre-conversion value before landing the sale. But if you don’t have a basic understanding of that two-way street, your product launches won’t be as successful.
13. 42 Rules of Product Marketing by Phil Burton, Gary Parker & Brian Lawley
Every industry has a list of “best practices.” They’re the techniques you should stick to—and those you should avoid at all costs. The same is true for product marketers, as the 42 Rules of Product Marketing lays out.
You’ll learn how to position your product, and write messaging that coincides with it. Plus, the authors teach you how to communicate with your audience on the channels they’re already using (like social media, for example).
And, after doing all of those techniques, you’ll be able to analyze which worked.
The best part? Although this book has three authors, it includes the opinion of 40+ other experts. That gives the book a wealth of practical advice, experience, and examples that you can use to develop your career in product marketing.
14. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel Pink
Daniel Pink’s book focuses heavily on sales; it’s not specifically geared towards marketers. However, it shares some common ground that product marketers can think about when piecing together a new product launch strategy.
In a lot of ways, To Sell Is Human goes against the status quo. It argues that introverts make great salespeople, and that every brand message should be clear—but persuasive enough to close a deal.
It’s no wonder this book has reached the #1 spot on both the New York Times Business Bestseller and Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller lists.
15. All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin
Of course no list of marketing books can be complete without including the incomparable Seth Godin. A decade after its release, this book still resonates, thanks to Godin’s insight, humor and charm. While the full title of this book is All Marketers Are Liars:The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works–and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All the actual book title crosses out “Are Liars” and replaces it with “Tells Stories” which speaks to the brilliance behind this work.
Godin presents three important questions for all marketers —
“What’s your story?”
“Will the people who need to hear this story believe it?”
“Is it true?”
This work understands that product marketers need to craft stories in order to be effective, but that story needs to be believable and sincere. Authenticity is the key here, and it’s one of many fantastic lessons within this book.
Which of these product marketing books is your favorite?
With these product marketing books, we’re sure that your reading list will be jam-packed for the foreseeable future. However, don’t let your list go stale.
Set aside regular time for development by reading these books.
Not only will they make you a better marketer, but you’ll learn a ton of advice that experts don’t typically share for free!