5 Must-Read Behavioral Marketing Books

Blog Post
June 09, 2020

In the current context, when behaviors are shifting more radically than ever, it’s vital to understand how we, as brands, can make decisions that contribute to the greater good. We have already talked in our webinars about the emotional drivers triggered by the pandemic and what brands need to do in order to influence behavior and grow.

For those of you who want to dive into behavioral science, we selected 5 books we thought could provide you with a knowledge base to better understand and communicate about this topic.

1. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness

Nudge

Co-authored by Nobel laurate Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, the book tackles the subtleties of what influences our decisions. Through a series of experiments and examples, it helps us understand how systematic biases affect our decision-making process. The book creates a seamless learning experience by underlining how the choice architecture influences our actions and decisions, be that for better or for worse. No marketer should miss the opportunity of channeling the insights that “Nudge” has to offer into consumer behavior. As a bonus, the book cleverly embeds other authors that you should definitely follow.

 

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

Predictably_Irrational

Dan Ariely is the preeminent voice in the area of behavioral economics. Google the topic and his name will pop up everywhere. We see ourselves as rational decision-makers, and we think we’re in control of every choice. But what if that’s not true? Behavioral economist Dan Ariely explains it by means of a series of interesting experiments. In “Predictably Irrational,” we can see how there are many factors that influence our reasoning, from our emotions and perceptions to culture and society. But there’s more to it than the logical, specific factors—proving that we are more irrational than we’d like to admit.

3. The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone's Mind

The_Catalyst

Jonah Berger’s unstated purpose in “The Catalyst” is to offer a theoretical framework for behavioral marketing, rooted in the art of persuasion, and the practical means of using it in business. The book talks about why and where traditional methods fail, and how to adjust our thought processes and perspectives, so we can change the minds of our customers by assuming the role of the catalyst. Broken down into five principles, the book’s structure is easy to follow and revisit if needed. Each principle ends with a case study that helps us understand the roadblocks consumers must overcome, and how to address them.

4. Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking_Fast_and_Slow

In a fascinating analysis of how people assess the world and make decisions, Nobel laureate and trailblazer Daniel Kahneman notices two complementary systems that govern this aspect of the human psyche. Understanding this tag-team duo that shapes the dynamic of our decision-making sheds some light on why it’s impossible for the human mind to make constant ideal choices. This subsequently highlights a need for honesty and transparency when offering people a choice, especially one that would impact their livelihoods. Kahneman’s breakthrough in the psychology of decision-making is the basis of modern behavioral marketing frameworks, and a must-read for any marketer.

 

5. Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy

Decoded

Phil Barden undertakes the colossal task of dissecting the latest scientific strides in understanding the psychology of decision-making and applying it to the marketing framework. The first few chapters explain the types of decision-making processes, and the rest of the book discusses how marketers should approach the various factors that influence them. He advocates for an increased focus on the consumer’s implicit goal and what they consider (consciously and subconsciously) as net value, as well as the way our brains decide these. Barden’s approach and chapter format are carefully constructed to help us decode this complex subject, making it essential for any behavioral marketer.

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