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In the dynamic world of digital and traditional marketing, understanding the intricate dance of consumer psychology is crucial. Curious about what really drives consumers to react to and connect with certain brands, I took a deep dive into the vast sea that is Amazon to bring the best marketing psychology books to you. With topics ranging from the optimization of marketing campaigns to the subtle ways our subconscious minds interact with copywriting, trust me when I say you're in for a treat.

Whether you’re a beginner seeking a foundational grasp, a startup looking to break the mold, or an established economist eyeing the Nobel Prize in understanding consumer choices, you’re in the right place. The richness of these reads is immeasurable, offering insights that are both profound and practical. I’ve been where you are, eager to grasp the newest strategies and technologies. So, trust this curated collection—it's refined, insightful, and tailored to enlighten (and heighten) your marketing journey.

17 Best Marketing Psychology Books Shortlist

I’ve sifted through countless books and handpicked these gems in marketing psychology to cater directly to your aspirations and challenges.

  1. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
  2. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely
  3. Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age by Jonah Berger
  4. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini
  5. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
  6. Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy by Martin Lindstrom
  7. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
  8. Building A StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller
  9. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
  10. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
  11. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries & Jack Trout
  12. Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost Into Profit by Joe Pulizzi & Robert Rose
  13. Brand Sense: Sensory Secrets Behind the Stuff We Buy by Martin Lindstrom
  14. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
  15. This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See by Seth Godin
  16. Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life by Rory Sutherland
  17. Cashvertising: How to Use More than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone by Drew Eric Whitman

Overviews Of The 17 Best Marketing Psychology Books

1. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion - Marketing Psychology Book

Summary:

In "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion," Dr. Robert B. Cialdini delves into the underlying principles of persuasion that influence our decision-making. From the impact of social proof to the power of liking, this book sheds light on the universal triggers that drive our behavior, giving readers a deep understanding of the subtleties of persuasion and how they can be leveraged in marketing.

What You'll Learn:

This book unveils the six universal principles of persuasion—reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity—and elucidates how understanding and implementing these principles can significantly augment the effectiveness of your marketing strategies.

Why You Should Read It:

If you’re keen on learning about the psychological underpinnings that drive human behavior and decision-making processes and wish to apply these principles to enhance your marketing endeavors, this book is a must-read. It equips you with the knowledge to ethically influence and persuade individuals, making it a timeless resource for anyone in marketing or business.

Quote From The Book:

"People seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value."

About The Author:

Robert B. Cialdini is a renowned psychologist and the Regents' Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University. Discover more about his work on his LinkedIn, or his website.

2. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely

Predictably Irrational - The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions - Marketing Psychology Book

Summary:

Dan Ariely's "Predictably Irrational" explores the fascinating world of behavioral economics, examining why humans often make irrational decisions. Ariely uncovers the patterns of our behavior and illustrates how our irrationality is, ironically, quite predictable, guiding readers through a journey of understanding the unseen forces that shape our decisions, especially in the realms of buying and selling.

What You'll Learn:

The book illuminates the hidden forces that surreptitiously influence our decision-making processes, providing insights into the irrational patterns in human behavior, especially around pricing and value assessment, social norms, and emotional states.

Why You Should Read It:

Diving into this book allows you to discern the often irrational forces shaping human decisions. It's a riveting exploration for marketers aiming to comprehend consumer behavior at a deeper level, offering enlightening revelations about the human psyche that can be instrumental in crafting more effective and resonant marketing strategies.

Quote From The Book:

"We are pawns in a game whose forces we largely fail to comprehend."

About The Author:

Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. Find out more about his insights and research on his LinkedIn, Twitter, or his website.

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3. Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age by Jonah Berger

Contagious - Why Things Catch On - Marketing Psychology Book

Summary:

"Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age" by Jonah Berger is a seminal work examining the science behind why certain things go viral while others don't. Berger decrypts the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission, drawing on groundbreaking research to reveal the key to making products and ideas contagious.

What You'll Learn:

The reader will learn about the six STEPPS—Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value, and Stories—that are pivotal in making any content or idea go viral. Understanding these principles will allow marketers to craft messages and campaigns that people will naturally want to share.

Why You Should Read It:

If you aspire to create products, messages, or ideas that spread like wildfire, this book is your guide. It unveils the precise elements that make content contagious, providing a roadmap for leveraging these elements to make your brand or idea the talk of the town.

Quote From The Book:

"Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20 percent to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions."

About The Author:

Jonah Berger is a Marketing Professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. For more insights from Jonah, connect with him on LinkedIn, or Twitter, or visit his website.

4. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini

Pre-Suasion - A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade - Marketing Psychology Book

Summary:

"Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade" is another masterpiece by Dr. Robert Cialdini that explores the concept of “pre-suasion,” the process of arranging for recipients to be receptive to a message before they encounter it. The book delves into how the initial setup significantly influences the choices people make.

What You'll Learn:

Readers will grasp the importance of timing and context in enhancing persuasiveness and learn effective strategies for setting the stage to alter a recipient's behavior before a request is even made.

Why You Should Read It:

The insight provided in this book is crucial for anyone looking to develop advanced persuasion skills. By understanding how to leverage the time before the ask, you can greatly increase your influence and improve the efficacy of your marketing communications.

Quote From The Book:

"What we present first changes the way people experience what we present to them next."

About The Author:

Robert B. Cialdini is a world-renowned psychologist and author specializing in persuasion and marketing. Discover more about his work on his LinkedIn, or his website.

5. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Made to Stick - Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die - Marketing Psychology Book

Summary:

"Made to Stick" by Chip and Dan Heath investigates why some ideas endure while others fade away. It elucidates the attributes that make ideas “sticky” and provides practical advice on how to make your ideas unforgettable and influential.

What You'll Learn:

Discover the six key principles of stickiness—simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions, and stories—and how to employ them to make your ideas more impactful and enduring.

Why You Should Read It:

This book is essential for marketers and communicators who want to ensure their ideas resonate and persist. The practical, actionable advice offered will guide you in creating messages that stick and drive change.

Quote From The Book:

"The most basic way to get someone's attention is this: Break a pattern."

About The Authors:

Chip and Dan Heath are renowned authors and educators focusing on business and communication strategy. Learn more about their insights on Chip Heath’s LinkedIn or Dan Heath’s LinkedIn.

6. Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy by Martin Lindstrom

Buyology - Truth and Lies About Why We Buy - Marketing Psychology Book

Summary:

Martin Lindstrom's "Buyology" unveils the hidden psychological triggers that drive consumer purchasing decisions. It exposes the myriad of ways brands manipulate our brains to choose their products, combining cutting-edge research with intriguing examples to reveal the often subconscious influences on our buying behaviors.

What You'll Learn:

Gain insights into neuromarketing and understand the unseen forces and brain-based processes that underlie consumer choices, preferences, and brand loyalty.

Why You Should Read It:

This book provides a fascinating exploration of the intersection between neuroscience and marketing. It’s essential reading for anyone wanting to understand consumer behavior at a deeper, more granular level and leverage this knowledge to develop more compelling marketing strategies.

Quote From The Book:

"Our brains are so overloaded with information that they don’t have room to consider the details."

About The Author:

Martin Lindstrom is a leading global expert on brand building and consumer behavior. Discover more about his thoughts and research on his LinkedIn, Twitter, or personal website.

7. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

Hooked - How to Build Habit-Forming Products - Marketing Psychology Book

Summary:

Nir Eyal's "Hooked" elucidates the mechanics behind the creation of habit-forming products. The book dives deep into the psychology of products that keep users coming back and provides a framework that designers and developers can utilize to create more engaging, addictive products.

What You'll Learn:

You will gain insights into the Hook Model—a four-step process that companies use to build consumer habits—and understand how to implement it to create products that are irresistibly enticing to users.

Why You Should Read It:

"Hooked" is an indispensable resource for product designers, marketers, and entrepreneurs who aspire to create products that are a staple in consumers’ lives, fostering customer engagement and loyalty.

Quote From The Book:

"Habits are defined as behaviors done with little or no conscious thought."

About The Author:

Nir Eyal is an accomplished author and thought leader in the field of behavioral design and habit formation. Find more of his thoughts and insights on his LinkedIn, Twitter, or his personal blog website.

8. Building A StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller

Building a StoryBrand - Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen - Marketing Psychology Book

Summary:

Donald Miller's "Building A StoryBrand" imparts a seven-part storytelling framework to sharpen brand messages. The book emphasizes the role of storytelling in crafting a message that resonates, enabling brands to improve their communication and connect effectively with customers.

What You'll Learn:

Discover the StoryBrand seven-part framework to clarify your brand message and learn to communicate in a way that draws customers in and compels them to respond.

Why You Should Read It:

If you’re struggling with creating compelling brand narratives that resonate with your audience, this book is essential. It will guide you through the process of refining your brand message to foster better engagement and conversion.

Quote From The Book:

"If you confuse, you’ll lose."

About The Author:

Donald Miller is a best-selling author and CEO of StoryBrand, helping companies clarify their brand message. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

9. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

The Power of Habit - Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business - Marketing Psychology Book

Summary:

"The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg explores the science behind why habits exist and how they can be changed. It provides a gripping analysis of the habit loop and how understanding and manipulating it can have a significant impact on our lives, communities, and companies.

What You'll Learn:

Learn about the habit loop, the role of cravings in forming habits, and the framework for reshaping habits to transform your life and business.

Why You Should Read It:

If you are keen on understanding the intricate workings of habits and desire to harness this knowledge to institute positive change personally and professionally, this book is a valuable asset.

Quote From The Book:

"Habits are not destiny."

About The Author:

Charles Duhigg is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and author focusing on productivity and habit formation. For more on his work, visit his LinkedIn, Twitter, or personal website.

10. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

Drive - The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us - Marketing Psychology Book

Summary:

"Drive" unveils the surprising truth about what motivates us, exploring the mismatch between what science knows and what business does. Pink proposes a new framework focusing on autonomy, mastery, and purpose as the keys to high performance and satisfaction in the workplace and in life.

What You'll Learn:

Understand the flaws of traditional reward-based motivation and discover the three elements of true motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Why You Should Read It:

It's a must-read for anyone seeking to harness motivation as a driving force, whether you’re a manager aiming to inspire employees or an individual striving for self-improvement.

Quote From The Book:

"Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives."

About The Author:

Daniel H. Pink is a highly acclaimed author specializing in behavioral science and work. Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or the company website.

11. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries & Jack Trout

Positioning - The Battle for Your Mind - Marketing Psychology Book

Summary:

"Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind" delves into the art and science of creating a unique position in the customer’s mind. It offers groundbreaking insights into the strategies you can employ to ensure your product or service stands out in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

What You'll Learn:

Grasp the concept of positioning and learn strategic techniques to establish a unique place for your brand in the customer's mind.

Why You Should Read It:

This book is a definitive guide for marketers and branding professionals seeking to build strong brands through effective positioning strategies.

Quote From The Book:

"The basic approach of positioning is not to create something new and different, but to manipulate what's already up there in the mind, to retie the connections that already exist."

About The Authors:

Al Ries is a marketing strategist and branding guru, and Jack Trout is a business owner and advertising executive. Learn more about Al Ries on his LinkedIn, Twitter, or his website.

12. Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost Into Profit by Joe Pulizzi & Robert Rose

Killing Marketing - How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost Into Profit - Marketing Psychology Book

Summary:

"Killing Marketing" proposes a radical rethink of the role of marketing, illustrating how leading companies are turning marketing from a cost center into a profitable revenue generator. It’s a guide to the evolving landscape of marketing innovation, focusing on transforming marketing strategies into different types of revenue-generating platforms.

What You'll Learn:

Discover how innovative businesses are redefining marketing to generate profits, exploring models that leverage marketing as a distinct revenue-generating platform.

Why You Should Read It:

If you’re seeking transformative strategies that position marketing as a differentiator and revenue driver, this book will provide the innovative insights to make that shift.

Quote From The Book:

"The future of marketing is about creating valuable experiences that people are willing to pay for."

About The Authors:

Joe Pulizzi is a content marketing strategist and founder of Content Marketing Institute, and Robert Rose is a sought-after marketing consultant. Connect with Joe on his LinkedIn, Twitter, or personal website, and with Robert on his LinkedIn, Twitter, or personal website.

13. Brand Sense: Sensory Secrets Behind the Stuff We Buy by Martin Lindstrom

Brand Sense - Sensory Secrets Behind the Stuff We Buy - Marketing Psychology Book

Summary:

"Brand Sense" unravels the sensory secrets that lead to successful branding, providing insights into how brands can forge emotional connections through sensory experiences. It dives deep into the psychology of the consumer, exploring how brands can leverage multi-sensory strategies to enhance consumer engagement and loyalty.

What You'll Learn:

Understand the role of sensory experiences in branding and how to employ multi-sensory strategies to create lasting connections with consumers.

Why You Should Read It:

It is an enlightening read for marketers looking to enhance brand perception and consumer interaction through innovative sensory strategies.

Quote From The Book:

"A brand is not a product or a promise or a feeling. It's the sum of all the experiences you have with a company."

About The Author:

Martin Lindstrom is a globally recognized leader in brand and culture transformation. Discover more about his thoughts and research on his LinkedIn, Twitter, or personal website.

14. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

Ogilvy on Advertising - Marketing Psychology Book

Summary:

"Ogilvy on Advertising" is a seminal work by one of the most influential figures in advertising, David Ogilvy. The book is filled with invaluable advice on the essentials of advertising, from headline writing to the importance of research, making it an enduring reference for anyone in the field of advertising and marketing.

What You'll Learn:

Gain profound insights into the foundational principles of advertising, including campaign development, research application, and the creation of compelling headlines.

Why You Should Read It:

It offers timeless advice and wisdom from the “Father of Advertising,” making it a must-read for anyone seeking to master the art and science of advertising.

Quote From The Book:

"The consumer isn't a moron. She's your wife."

About The Author:

David Ogilvy was a legendary advertising tycoon, known for his innovative and effective advertising strategies.

15. This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See by Seth Godin

This Is Marketing - You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See - Marketing Psychology Book

Summary:

"This is Marketing" invites readers to view marketing as the art of making change happen. Seth Godin emphasizes the importance of empathy and service, encouraging marketers to solve other people’s problems and lead communities. It’s about creating a market that matches your organization’s values and goals.

What You'll Learn:

Explore the art and science of seeing and creating, and understand how to develop marketing strategies that resonate with your target audience.

Why You Should Read It:

This book provides refreshing perspectives on marketing, focusing on value creation and service, and is essential for those looking to create meaningful and impactful marketing strategies.

Quote From The Book:

"Marketing is the generous act of helping others become who they seek to become. It involves creating honest stories—stories that resonate and spread."

About The Author:

Seth Godin is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, and speaker. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

16. Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life by Rory Sutherland

Alchemy - The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life - Marketing Psychology Book

Summary:

"Alchemy" by Rory Sutherland explores the untraversed terrain of psychological influences and perceptions that play crucial roles in the success of products, brands, and services. It emphasizes the importance of irrationality and subjectivity in decision-making, showcasing how understanding these elements can lead to unparalleled breakthroughs in marketing and brand development.

What You'll Learn:

Develop insights into the paradoxical nature of consumers and learn how to employ irrationality and subjectivity as powerful tools for brand enhancement and product success.

Why You Should Read It:

For its profound exploration of the unseen, irrational forces that drive consumer behavior, this book is a treasure trove of unconventional wisdom and strategies for marketers and business leaders.

Quote From The Book:

"The opposite of a good idea can also be a good idea."

About The Author:

Rory Sutherland is the Vice Chairman of Ogilvy UK and a renowned marketing expert. Delve deeper into his insights on LinkedIn, or Twitter.

17. Cashvertising: How to Use More than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone by Drew Eric Whitman

Cashvertising - How to Use More Than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make BIG MONEY Selling Anything to Anyone - Marketing Psychology Book

Summary:

"Cashvertising" dissects the psychology behind consumer purchasing decisions, revealing over 100 secrets of ad-agency psychology to help businesses, big or small, to sell more. Drew Eric Whitman dives into the principles of consumer behavior, demonstrating how to write compelling advertisements and improve marketing strategies to maximize sales.

What You'll Learn:

Discover psychological tactics and strategies to create advertisements that trigger consumers to buy and understand the underlying principles that govern effective advertising.

Why You Should Read It:

It is an essential read for those eager to learn ad agency secrets to creating impactful advertisements and unlocking the full potential of their marketing efforts.

Quote From The Book:

"What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it."

About The Author:

Drew Eric Whitman, a.k.a. "Dr. Direct," is an acclaimed advertising and sales trainer. You can explore more about his work and insights on his website and you can also connect with him on LinkedIn or his Twitter account.

Which Marketing Psychology Books Do You Recommend?

Feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions on any stellar marketing psychology books that might be missing from this list. Your insights are highly valued, and I'm eager to discover more exceptional reads in this ever-evolving field.

Stephanie Hood
By Stephanie Hood

Stephanie Hood is an experienced marketing professional and Editor of The CMO. With nearly a decade spent as Marketing Manager at Discover Holidays and Executive Editor at VIVA Lifestyle & Travel, she built her career leading editorial and marketing teams and strategies that turn six-figure budgets into seven-figure profits. She now enjoys connecting with the world's top executives to learn their secrets to business success, and shares those insights right here with her community of like-minded professionals. Curious what she’s uncovered? Be sure to sign up for The CMO newsletter.