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Behavioral Econ 101

The American Marketing Association has published an article that serves as a valuable primer on behavior economics (or, if you prefer, “behavioral science”) and its impact on marketing. 

As Joel Rubinson of Rubinson partners notes in the article, “Every marketer has to understand what it means, particularly for the brands and products that they’re trying to manage. You have to study it and have a point of view about it. You have to be able to say that these ideas are somehow embedded in the rationale of your marketing program.”

Philip Kotler suggests in the article that behavior economics is old wine in new bottles, and he is right in many ways. We have known about the power of the consumer unconscious for years. However, these are not theories that have been systematically applied across the discipline, nor have they benefited from a lingua franca that connects academics and practitioners.

The article contains some illustrative examples — like how the placement of a snack bar at Google’s offices have nudged employees toward healthier food choices. But more than anything it explains the importance of knowing the language and texts that are increasingly becoming a part of the marketing world.

(As a side note, The Business of Choice by Matthew Willcox is a must-read for learning about how recent breakthrough insights in behavioral science can be applied in a marketing context.)