You've spent hours poring over textbooks and aced nearly every exam in your online business degree program.

Want to really step up your game for a future career in marketing?

Grab your Kindle or head to the bookstore; these must-read books – some classic, some new – will get you thinking like a top marketing executive.

1. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

By Al Ries & Jack Trout

Advertising gurus Al Ries and Jack Trout describe a revolutionary approach to creating a "position" in a prospective customer's mind – one that reflects a company's own strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of its competitors.

Written in a witty, fast-paced style, Ries and Trout's best-seller explains how to brand products and services and place them in the market and in the subconscious of the consumer. The authors provide valuable case histories and penetrating analyses of some of the most phenomenal successes and failures in advertising history.

2. Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business

By Ann Handley & C.C. Chapman

Blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other platforms are giving everyone a "voice." Content Rules is a one-stop source on the art and science of developing content that people care about. Handley and Chapman offer case studies of companies successfully spreading their ideas online and using them to establish credibility and build a loyal customer base.

3. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

By Robert Cialdini

Think you know how people make decisions and what influences them? Think again.

Cialdini's New York Times bestseller explains the psychology of why people say "yes," and how to apply these understandings. Readers learn six universal principles, how to use them to become a skilled persuader, and how to defend against them.

Based on 35 years of rigorous, evidence-based research, Influence is arguably the best book ever written on the growing science of persuasion.

4. Web Analytics 2.0

By Avinash Kaushik

Web analytics thought leader Avinash Kaushik's powerful book makes web analytics fascinating, important and easy to understand.

The book is filled with recommendations for using data to think smart and move fast, applying analytical techniques correctly, measuring social media and multichannel campaigns, leveraging experimentation, employing tactics for truly listening to customers and more.

Avinash teaches readers how to use online data to effectively transform an organization from faith-based to data driven.

5. Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers

By Seth Godin

Instead of annoying potential customers by interrupting their most coveted commodity – time – Permission Marketing offers consumers incentives to accept advertising voluntarily.

Internet pioneer Seth Godin introduces a fundamentally different way of thinking about advertising products and services by reaching out only to those individuals who have signaled an interest in learning more about a product or service, thereby developing long-term relationships with customers, create trust, build brand awareness and greatly improve the chances of making a sale.

6. Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing

By Harry Beckwith

Instead of producing tangibles – like automobiles, clothing and tools – more and more professionals are in the business of providing intangibles – such as healthcare, entertainment and legal services. In fact, these days, as many as 75 percent of Americans work in the service sector.

Despite the shift, most of these intangibles are still being marketing like products were 20 years ago. Beckwith's succinct, entertaining book covers the art of service marketing from start to finish.

7. Never Eat Alone

By Keith Ferrazzi

Master networker Keith Ferrazzi says the secret to success is teaching out to other people.

The son of a small-town steelworker and a cleaning lady, Ferrrazzi first used his remarkable ability to connect with others to pave the way to a scholarship at Yale, a Harvard MBA and several top executive posts.

Never Eat Alone lays out the specific steps and inner mindset he uses to reach out to connect with the thousands of colleagues, friends and associates – people he has helped and who have helped him.

Do you have a book you think belongs on our list of "Must-Read Books for Marketing Students"? We'd love to hear from you.

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Image Credit: Paul Bence