Education and professional development both sit at the heart of product marketing.

Product marketers are notoriously ambitious, with many harboring ambitions of cultivating their skillsets to ascend the career ladder.

However, there’s only so much you can learn whilst on the job, and the benefits a book brings to the table shouldn’t be underestimated.

After all, as William Godwin once said:

“He that loves reading has everything within his reach.”

So, with this in mind, we’ve trawled through our bookcase here at Product Marketing Alliance HQ, and cherry-picked our top 10 product marketing books for your reading pleasure:

1) Product Marketing MisUnderstood - Richard King & Bryony Pearce

Applying common product marketing principles, Product Marketing MisUnderstood is the only armor you need to ensure internal stakeholders just get the role - and value it.

Whatever country you're in, customers you serve, and products you sell, we've learned there's one universal pain point in product marketing: people just don't understand the value of the role.

​But we're on a mission to put an end to that. Reversing the roles and using industry-wide PMM principles - like positioning, research, and customer segmentation, this book unravels how you can elevate the role of product marketing in your company.

Never be MisUnderstood again.

Available at Amazon HERE

"I needed this book ten years ago. I need it even more in the next ten years. As a startup founder and CEO, I made countless and costly mistakes trying to scale product marketing. As a growth stage VP of Product, I wasn't equipped to help product marketing. There are defined playbooks for demand gen, outbound, and nearly every piece of modern go-to-market, except product marketing. With increasing competition in every category and power consolidating to buyers, there has never been a greater need for strategic PMM. In my next company, I'll bring the frameworks from this book on day one."

- Adam Schoenfeld, VP Strategy at Drift

"If you want to amplify your impact and clearly define your value as a product marketer, this book is for you. The PMA effectively demystifies the nebulous role by both celebrating its complexity and simplifying a more modern approach. Full of hands-on exercises, you'll walk away with the ability to articulate your role as a product marketer and position yourself for success at an organization of any size."

- Tamara Grominsky, Chief Strategy Officer at Unbounce

"Nobody gets product marketing like the PMA. Product Marketing Misunderstood is proof. It PAINS me how misunderstood our craft is. How can we convince CMOs to invest in product marketing if nobody knows what the hell we do? This book takes a major bite out of the mystery surrounding product marketing. It's required reading for aspiring and tenured PMMs. Get your CMO a copy too."

- Marcus Andrews, Director of Product Marketing at Pendo

"Richard King's Product Marketing Alliance community has become the go-to meeting place for the world's best product marketers. This book is a must-read for product marketers and executives who want to build a better product marketing organization."

- April Dunford, Positioning Expert and author of Obviously Awesome

and look who's next 👇

2) Obviously Awesome - April Dunford

Aligning your product with would-be consumers isn’t a matter of following trends, snooping on the competition, or trying to attract the widest customer base.

Which prompts the question: What is it?

Cue April Dunford, positioning guru and tech exec, for an expose on the essentials of positioning.McDonald's has their famous Big Mac sauce, and Obviously Awesome not only shows you how to cook up your product’s very own secret sauce, but it also shows you how to sell your sauce to customers desperate to get their hands on it.

An experienced executive with 16 product launches under her belt, and a consultant (who’s worked on dozens more), PMA ambassador April Dunford flexes her positioning muscles and explains how to break through the noise of a crowded market.

Available at Amazon HERE

3) Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love - Marty Cagan

Have you ever sat back and wondered how the heavy-hitters in the business such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix, and Tesla continue to set the world alight by designing and developing products that have not only earned them a legion of loyal customers, but also a place in history?

In his book Inspired, Marty Cagan not only explains how to structure and staff a vibrant and successful product organization but also how to discover and deliver technology products that’ll benefit your business and leave your customers eating out the palm of your hand.

Gwendolyn Smith, Director of Product Marketing at TransUnion, is one of the many to have benefited from Cagan’s book, saying:

"Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love is more-so focused on the product side of the world, but when I was getting started as a PMM, it helped me better understand the role of products, speak their language, and work alongside them.
“I see there's a newer edition on creating "tech" products customers will love, but I haven't read it. I'm sure it's just as good!”

Available at Amazon HERE

4) When coffee and kale compete: Become great at making products people will buy - Alan Klement

There’s a reason behind every purchase a consumer makes.

When Coffee and Kale Compete by Alan Klement is the perfect guide for PMMs aspiring to create and sell better products.The key takeaways from this book? You’ll know how to help companies increase profits, reduce waste, and remain competitive in your field.

You’ll help the economy thrive, and help provide stable jobs for employees and the families depending on them. Get the insights from leading entrepreneurs, business owners, and Alan himself, as they share their experiences of how they used Job-to-be-Done to help them create successful products.

The publication gives examples of products and companies that failed and seeing real-life instances where others have fallen short will help you make the best choices for your own company or the company where you work.

Discover how to assess your competition and make customers sit up, notice your product, and part with their cash. The knowledge in this book will help you boost the growth of your product and business.

Available at Amazon HERE

5) Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers - Geoffrey A. Moore

Companies continue to risk millions of dollars, as well as endless hours trying to successfully market niche products to the mainstream marketplace.

With more high-tech products scrambling for the home market every day, it’s fundamental marketers learn to deviate from outdated theories, to reduce the likelihood of future failure.

Nicola Kinsella, SVP of Global Marketing at Fluent Commerce is a fan of the positioning framework explained in the book:

"I use the positioning framework described in the "The Claim: Passing the Elevator Test" section of Crossing the Chasm all the time. It's now a staple in our organization. We include it in every launch plan for every feature release, as it helps drive alignment across product, product marketing, and sales so we're all telling the same story."

Based on the pioneering model derived from Geoffrey Moore's extensive experience in high-tech markets, Crossing the Chasm is the definitive book on a vital, rapidly growing but capricious market.

Available at Amazon HERE

6) All Marketers are Liars - Seth Godin

Legendary business writer Seth Godin has three essential questions for every marketer:

“What’s your story?”

“Will the people who need to hear this story believe it?”

“Is it true?”

Marketers love telling stories. When they do it well, we believe them, and we buy their products. It’s the way the wheel turns.

But it isn’t a case of bleating about features and benefits until you’re blue in the face. Godin places an emphasis on the importance of storytelling, and how consumers want to believe it, irrespective of whether it’s true.

The best stories are ones we’ll embrace and share with others - the ultimate snowball effect.

But there’s a fine line between stories, fibs, and fraud beware, and when you enter this territory, you’re dicing with your credibility.

In his book, Godin writes, “Stories make it easier to understand the world. Stories are the only way we know to spread an idea. Marketers didn’t invent storytelling. They just perfected it.”

Available at Amazon HERE

7) Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content - Ann Handley

Everybody Writes explains how to attract and retain customers via awesome online communication because let’s face it: in a world driven by content, we’re all writers - in one way or another.

If your web copy’s awful bounce rates will increase, if your blog content isn’t great, the attention of the target audience will wane, if your social media posts aren’t great, say au revoir to coveted traction.

You get the drift: we all need to produce kick-ass content.

In Everybody Writes, top marketing veteran Ann Handley gives expert guidance and insight into the process and strategy of content creation, production, and publishing, with actionable how-to advice designed to get results.

These lessons and rules apply across all of your online assets ― like web pages, homepages, landing pages, blogs, email, marketing offers, and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media.

Ann deconstructs the strategy and delivers a practical approach to create ridiculously compelling and competent content. It's designed to be the go-to guide for anyone creating or publishing any kind of online content ― whether you're a big brand small brand or flying solo.

Available at Amazon HERE

8) Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen - Donald Miller

Donald Miller's StoryBrand process solves the struggles leaders encounter when discussing their businesses. It’s a favorite amongst PMMs in our Slack community, with Ashley Herbert, Head of Product Marketing Manager at Recruitee, singing its praises:

"Donald Miller's book, Building a Story Brand, helped to hone my communication skills and to look at messaging in a new light.
"As product marketers, messaging is a part of what we do every day, and learning how to paint the customer as the true hero of our company story helped transform my communication into something more effective and empathetic towards our customers."

Miller’s method connects customers and provides readers with the ultimate competitive advantage, revealing the secret for helping their customers understand the compelling benefits of using their products, ideas, or services.

Building a StoryBrand focuses on the seven universal story points all humans respond to, the real reason customers make purchases, how to simplify a brand message so people understand it, and how to create the most effective messaging for websites, brochures, and social media.

Whether you’re a VP of Product Marketing or an entry-level PMM, Building a StoryBrand will prick your attention and make you think about how you talk about who you are, what you do, and the unique value you bring to your customers.

Available at Amazon HERE

9) The Mom Test: How to Talk to Customers & Learn If Your Business Is a Good Idea When Everyone Is Lying to You - Rob Fitzpatrick

Looking for a quick, practical guide to save you time, money, and heartbreak?

Perhaps it’s time to pick up Rob Fitzpatrick’s The Mom Test.

The Mom Test focuses on customer communication, one of the essential skills of customer development and lean startup, and has been recommended by Grace Chi, Co-Founder at Pulsedive Cyber Threat Intelligence:

“The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick is an excellent short read about being honest and asking the right Qs about your business/product/user/feedback. It’s useful to use/teach these tactics to leadership and technical teammates too.”

In the book, Fitzpatrick shows readers how customer communication can go wrong, and more importantly, how to improve it.

Available at Amazon HERE

10) Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind - Al Ries, Jack Trout

At the time of publication, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind transformed the face of marketing strategy.

This revised edition includes commentary from the authors offering new insights into why it's essential to nail your product positioning, whilst offering examples of campaigns to reinforce the theory from Ries and Trout.

Available at Amazon HERE

Honorable mentions

There are plenty more product marketing books sitting on bookshelves vying for your attention.

The good news? We’ve done all the hard work for you, earmarking a breadth of titles you ought to check out in our product marketing reading list.