Last month, I wrote an article here arguing that, to achieve success in 2023 and beyond, marketers will need to be adept at leveraging both the capabilities of technology and data science, and the principles of behavioral science describing how people make decisions. I called technology/data science and behavioral science the yin and yang of high-performance marketing.
Technology and data science have received a great deal of attention in marketing circles. For example, the use of artificial intelligence in marketing has been a hot topic in the industry for the past few years, and the recent tsunami of buzz surrounding ChatGPT and other generative AI applications has been nothing short of astounding.
The use of behavioral science in marketing has received somewhat less attention, even though marketers have been using principles of behavioral science for decades.
Given the importance of technology/data science and behavioral science for marketing, I'll be providing a reading list of the books I've found most useful for learning about these topics. I'll cover books relating to technology and data science in a future post. In this post, I'll describe the books that I think are required reading for marketers who want to leverage behavioral science principles in their marketing efforts.
The following list is by no means comprehensive, and most of the books listed aren't that new. However, these four books will give you a solid foundation in the principles of behavioral science that are relevant to marketing.
Here are my essential must-reads.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011)
|Source: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
If you can only read one book about human thinking and decision making, it should be Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, one of the most influential psychologists in history, and the winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics.
Kahneman can accurately be described as the intellectual "godfather" of behavioral economics. In the 1970's, he and fellow psychologist Amos Tversky collaborated on research regarding the non-rational aspects of human decision making. The work of Kahneman and Tversky laid the foundation for the behavioral science discipline we now call behavioral economics.
In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman asserts that the cognitive processes people use can be thought of as two "systems."
- System 1 (fast thinking) operates automatically, quickly, with little or no effort, and with no sense of voluntary control.
- System 2 (slow thinking) consists of thinking processes that are reflective, controlled, deliberative, and analytical.
|Source: HarperCollins Publishers
|Source: Yale University Press