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11 Must-read Books on Marketing Automation

Automation can be an obsession for any marketer in 2023. When there’s a lot on your plate, you naturally want more from your existing tech stack. 

You consume a lot of content trying to learn new things. Subscribing to blogs and newsletters on marketing automation, hearing podcasts, and engaging in communities becomes a compulsive habit. 

But let’s agree, we all feel overwhelmed with all the tasks at hand and never find the time to upskill ourselves. Podcasts and blogs might be great for quick walkthroughs, but you can’t get into the “deep research” zone with them. 

Regular reading can be a great way to kill two birds with one stone. You can find time to relax and detox away from screens, and deep dive into a concept.

A good book gives you a better learning structure, deeper explanation, and more clarity for implementing a strategy. 

Remember all the lockdowns last year? 

We all were hooked on one book or another. Twitter and LinkedIn were full of reading challenges. Some of you might have found some great books on marketing during that time. 

If you’re a sucker for marketing automation material, here are some great books on marketing automation you must read: 

1. Marketing Automation Unleashed: The strategic path for B2B Growth 

Writing a book for the ever-evolving martech space is a challenge. But this book is an evergreen manual for anyone who wants to transition from traditional email blast campaigns to intelligent marketing automation tactics. 

Casey’s experience in Salesforce and Pardot makes this book a comprehensive guide covering everything you need for automating your B2B campaigns. The chapters are enriched with insights from 100+ experts and 2200+ MA implementations.  

The book is for everyone who wants to build a marketing automation strategy from scratch while driving revenue. 

You will find a detailed marketing automation framework –  Cheshire Success Index (CSI) within the book. CSI helps you self-assess marketing automation success in terms of audience segmentation, A/B testing, two-dimensional lead rating, lead nurturing campaigns, data preparedness, and a lot more. 

Though there are a lot of references to Pardot and Salesforce, the book is not limited in any way. It offers a roadmap for strategy and implementation and has a lot of great tips for beginners as well as experts. 

Read if you are 

  • A startup entrepreneur looking to implement marketing automation. 
  • A marketer responsible for implementing and managing a marketing automation platform.
  • An enthusiast keen on learning the MA lingo and getting hold of the concepts. 
  • An expert who needs refresher training to organize, improvise and reinvent your ideas for better efficiency.

2. Conversational Marketing 

Millions are spent every year on driving traffic to websites. But conversion rates still dangle around 2.85%, even for the most popular and optimized websites. Don’t you think one can do more than that? 

Conversational Marketing showcases how to use conversations for boosting conversions within marketing automation workflows. 

Written by David Cancel & Dave Gerhardt, Conversational Marketing has deep insights for marketers looking to get more from customer conversations. 

Though predominantly focused on chatbots, the book gives enough value on integrating conversational marketing techniques into marketing automation. 

You’ll learn a lot about creating interactive marketing campaigns, gathering deeper buyer insights, and building a powerful user segmentation strategy based on the conversations you hold. 

The book also covers several concepts and ideas for automating lead generation and lead nurturing efforts. Also, if you’re into the B2B space with a complex product, the book will teach you the right tactics to set the right context for every conversation with a prospect. 

If you’re planning to make your customer journey better and build a conversational marketing team, this is the book you should read.

Read if you are

  • A marketer who wants to reinvent his focus from traditional lead forms.
  • An entrepreneur looking to make your sales & marketing team more efficient.
  • Someone who wants to make ‘delight’ an important part of your customer journey.

3. Join or Die: Digital advertising in the age of automation

If you’re in love with the idea of PPC automation, this book won’t disappoint you. Full of real-world examples, Join or Die answers all your questions about automated digital advertising campaigns. 

Explaining the inner workings of algorithms like Google’s smart bidding algorithm, the book depicts how automation can make you more ROI-driven. 

This book is an absolute page-turner for a data-driven marketer — full of real-world case studies, anecdotes, and practical takeaways.

But wait. The book is not limited to Google PPC campaigns alone. It also explains the nitty-gritty of the Facebook and Instagram paid algorithms for marketing automation. 

You will get a clear picture of how automated PPC systems work. There are plenty of actionable tips, tactics, and strategies for managing, optimizing, and improving your PPC campaigns. 

If you need a ready reckoner and are looking for not just the “hacks” but real information, start with this book right away.

Read if you are

  • A T-shaped marketer who wants to take your PPC automation game up a notch.
  • PPC manager looking to make your campaigns more profitable with the help of automation.

4. Marketing Automation Foundation: Eliminating unproductive marketing

True to its name, the book outlines the fundamental concepts you should be aware of if you’re thinking of automating your digital marketing efforts. 

If you’re looking to automate your campaigns for the first time, this book can give a lot of insight into the process and also will guide you in formulating a plan to automate marketing campaigns.

The book talks a lot about eliminating manual tasks and menial jobs that make marketing unproductive and inefficient. 

Starting with the idea behind marketing automation, the chapters progress towards how the technology works, use cases, and the different marketing mediums. You’ll also find examples from real digital marketing campaigns in every chapter. 

This book covers many techniques, concepts, and ideas related to marketing automation — be it advertising campaigns, lead generation, or customer engagement. 

You’ll also get a basic overview of different CRM systems, email service providers, and automated tools for social media management. If you’re new to the landscape or a believer in DIY, this book should probably be your first read. 

Read if you are

  • A small business owner or a solopreneur 
  • A marketer donning many hats on an everyday basis 
  • A service-agency professional wanting to get a hold of basic concepts of marketing automation  

5. The Sales Funnel Book v2.0: The simple plan to multiply your business with marketing automation

The Sales Funnel Book 2.0 teaches everything on growing a business with marketing automation. If you keep wondering how everyone finishes a million things daily, you should pick up this book. 

You’ll learn a lot about building frameworks to segment your audience, retargeting leads based on their interests, and building macro and micro-sales funnels to boost your conversion rates. 

Though predominantly focused on the eCommerce niche, the ideas within the book are equally effective for SaaS and B2B space too. 

A short read, you’ll find several real examples and can pick up great concepts and ideas to supercharge your automation funnels. If you are looking to start building your marketing automation funnels, this is the book for you. 

Read if you are 

  • A solopreneur or co-founder wanting to improve their sales funnels. 
  • An eCommerce store owner wanting to put an upsell strategy in place. 
  • A service-based business owner wanting to nurture leads automatically. 

6. Marketing Automation for Dummies 

Marketing Automation for Dummies is undoubtedly one of the most comprehensive primers on marketing automation. 

Though written in 2014, this is still a classic for people who want to get started with marketing automation. If you’re new to the field and want to understand everything from scratch, this book is your assistant. 

You’ll get an overview of the concepts as well as practical ideas on choosing and setting up a marketing automation tool. 

The author’s straightforward language and approach make the book a delight for beginners. You’ll learn about complex concepts like forecasting, integrations, lead scoring, etc. 

Also, you can discover various applications of marketing automation tools, advanced lead scoring practices, reporting ideas, best practices, and further reading resources to improve your understanding within the pages of the book. 

Matthew has strategically covered concepts like forecasting, segmentation, customer lifecycles, automation workflows, lead nurturing, reporting, and much more in this 300-page book. The book has plenty of real examples, tactics, and strategies (particularly from the author’s experience with Pardot) to blow you away. 

Also, you’ll get a deeper understanding of several tools and technologies and a walkthrough of the process of choosing the right automation tool for your business. 

Psst… Have a client who doesn’t “get it”? Gift them a copy for the holidays, and you’ll never be on a “different page”. 

Read if you are 

  • A beginner who wants to start his journey in the world of marketing automation.
  • An entrepreneur who wants to be on the same page with their in-house or external marketing team.

7. Introduction to Algorithmic Marketing

If you’re a geek who likes the inner workings of an automation tool, you should read this book. 

This book gives a glimpse into the “behind-the-scenes” of marketing automation and untangles the algorithms that make automation possible in 2021. 

Full of mathematical formulas, flowcharts, and graphs, Introduction to Algorithmic Marketing will give you a deeper understanding of every aspect – right from predictive modeling to behavioral marketing, user segmentation to search algorithms, and more. 

The book isn’t your regular graphs and illustration manual but dives deeper into the mathematical equations that make automation relevant to the tech and business world. 

You’ll learn the fundamental philosophies that drive marketing automation decisions and see how mathematical modeling impacts marketing automation. You’ll also learn how data science can help you refine user segments, create better campaigns and stay more relevant. 

If you want to get into the mind of top-notch marketers – read into their brain, and learn what they think but cannot express innately, this book should be on your radar. Philosophically, the book is written for a hybrid personality — part data scientist and part marketer who want to drive real impact through data-driven marketing. 

All in all, the book is a mix of models, technologies, and econometrics of building and running a marketing system. 

Read if you are 

  • A marketer who wants to get into advanced marketing automation concepts.
  • A data scientist who wants to walk the bridge between data and business impact.
  • An entrepreneur who wants to do more than scratch the surface with marketing automation.

8. No forms. No spam. No cold calls

Written by Latané Conant, the book introduces a fresh take on B2B marketing automation. The book is an in-depth thought-leadership manual that introduces the concept of selling without old-school tactics that see everyone as just a lead. 

This book will give you a roadmap for automating marketing workflows without subscribing to the status quo. Demand generation and lead nurturing are the cornerstones of this book. 

Full of charts, workflows, and actionable tips, the book recommends a switch from lead-based marketing to account-based marketing using AI-driven orchestration.

The book talks about customer experience and reverse engineers marketing automation technology to keep customers at the heart of everything. The author says that the right time to pursue an account is not when they discover you but when they start exploring the market. 

Think of the book as an instruction manual to start building your automation workflows around account-based marketing tactics. There are a  lot of proprietary concepts within this book that are enriched with real-world examples from the author’s experience. 

If you are tired of archaic email blasting and cold calling practices and believe in automation technology, this is the book for you. You won’t get bored of the ideas and concepts but will get a lot of insights and real-world examples for navigating in a post-pandemic world. 

Read if you are: 

  • A sales executive or a marketer looking to improve the customer lifecycle journey.
  • Entrepreneurs who want to impress the guys at the high table.
  • Marketers who are selling high-ticket, high-value products that need a lot of nurturing.

9. Intro to Marketing Automation: Maximizing your advertising ROI

If you’re just a beginner and want a hands-on manual with lots of real examples and practical strategies, you should read this book by Todd Kelsey. 

Todd explains complex concepts in simple terms and teaches the reader a simple yet effective path to growing a business with marketing automation. 

The book covers several topics such as audience identification and segmentation, campaign targeting, and optimizing campaigns using automation tools. If you’re always fascinated by how big companies make it to the moon, you’d like the book a lot. 

This 200-page book has lots of insights on how big companies like Netflix use automation strategies to increase their ROI and shows the path on how you can do the same for your business. 

Read if you are 

  • An entrepreneur looking for real-world examples and strategies to implement in their marketing campaigns.
  • A PPC manager who wants to refine his positioning and targeting strategies. 
  • A marketing enthusiast who wants to scratch the surface and get started with marketing automation.

10. Think Outside the Inbox 

Won’t you like to know what the co-founders of Pardot thought about marketing automation? If you’re remotely into the email marketing or marketing universe, this book would get you excited. 

This book from the co-founders of Pardot came in 2010 and is just like knowledge flowing out from the source. David Cummings and Adam Blitzer wrote this book to show how email marketing and automation can work hand in hand to improve business results. 

You’ll discover a lot of classic ideas that still work on understanding user behaviors, intentions, and interests. There are several strategies outlined in the book on how you can use marketing automation tools effectively. 

You’d also learn the basics of email templates, landing pages, campaign structures, and improving your sales cycle. If you’re always curious about how everything started taking shape in the automation universe, you should definitely pick it up as a foundational textbook. 

Read if you are

  • Looking for inspiration to get started with marketing automation.
  • Planning to brush up on marketing automation basics and discover some classic strategies in the process.
  • A marketer who wants to explore how to bind everything – emails, copywriting, automation together for maximum ROI.

11. Automate and Grow

Written by Michael Devellano, this book will help you free up your time and grow your business at the same time. Michael has outlined several ways and strategies on how to use technologies and tools for automating marketing, sales, and customer support. 

You can be an entrepreneur or small biz owner who is always looking for ways to digitally transform your business. You could be a marketer who is just tired of managing a million things to grow your ROI from marketing automation. This book has something for everyone. 

Full of practical insights and suggestions, this book can help you set up the right framework using the available marketing automation tools in the market. Readers say that one can literally put together a to-do list after reading the book. So, if you are looking for inspiration, hand-holding, or practical strategies for taking your marketing automation game up a notch, you should definitely give this one a read. 

Read if you are

  • A small business owner or an entrepreneur always busy dealing with responsibilities.
  • A marketer who loves the idea of automating and innovating existing systems and strategies.
  • A solopreneur looking to scale up without hiring a lot of team members.

Bonus: Why Marketing Automation Experts Drink? 

Okay, enough of the serious stuff. Here’s something for the folks who love marketing automation to the core. 

This adult-coloring book outlines the struggles of marketing automation in a fun way. If you have worked on any marketing automation tool -— Hubspot, Salesforce, Marketo, the book has interesting comic strips to give you a hearty laugh. Here are some strips from the book: 

Martech is a harsh space and the author has cleverly outlined the troubles of building a strategy and constantly bringing results. 

If you are too stressed from all your automation responsibilities, pick this book up and blow off some steam. You’d thank me later. 

Plus, coloring is a fun activity and a great stress buster (and we all know how much we need it in our lives). 

Final words

Doesn’t this list get you excited? 

While you would have heard a lot about marketing automation on podcasts, Youtube, social media, and blogs, there are still things you might be planning to explore. These books can be a great way to start your journey. 

What’s a better way to upgrade your skills than starting with this list? So, the next time you’re on Amazon or your local bookstore, pick one of these gems and start upskilling on marketing automation. 

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