Nancy Harhut’s Book, “Using Behavioral Science in Marketing,” Is Worth Any Marketer’s Time

The book “Using Behavioral Science in Marketing” by Nancy Harhut melds data science and behavioral science by "prompting instinctive responses" — a curious idea for marketing professionals.

Nancy Harhut is the Co-Founder of HBT Marketing and has copious experience as a marketing professional. Harhut's book, which caters to marketing professionals, is a handbook for exploring certain research-based behavioral science tenants to facilitate consumer loyalty.

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Success in marketing means understanding human behavior enough to assess and sway consumers, Harhut says, and this book encompasses some of the most basic concepts of human psychology that marketers can use to their advantage.

The first of the book’s 17 chapters is about the emotional and rational factors in human decision-making, but the remainder of the book is more about using specific behavioral science principles and applying them in theoretical case studies. Even Harhut notes that she "goes short on the scientific research" in favor of "ways to use it." Each chapter includes topics like the scarcity principle, social proof, choice architecture, the status quo bias, and loss aversion. She also delves into automatic compliance triggers, the Zeigarnik effect, and literary devices.

Harhut's writing style is informal but gives a sense that she's speaking to the reader as a peer. She takes complex behavioral science concepts and puts them into a simple forms. However, she emphasizes that these ideas are best integrated into practice with skill and deliberation, though they might seem relatively straightforward.

In short, this book is a good tool for marketing professionals to subtly manipulate natural human behavior to increase sales and customer devotion; in Harhut's words, "influence your targets' decisions to increase the likelihood they'll do exactly what you want them to." This thought-provoking and somewhat radically transparent claim make this book worth any marketer’s time.