Dan Monheit on why he wrote a book on behavioral science for marketers

Dan Monheit; image provided by Hardhat.

Dan Monheit – founder and CEO of creative agency Hardhat, Bad Decisions podcast host and board member – now he can add author to his list of accomplishments after the release of his first book Why, Book.

Why, Book answers 30 questions about unusual but relatable human behavior, offers creative solutions designed to help business leaders and marketers understand the quirks of human nature and ignore biases to create better change strategies moral.

AdNews spoke with Monheit about what inspired him to write the book, how the industry is embracing behavioral science and why marketers need to understand the vagaries of human nature in order to create successful campaigns. benefit.

It was definitely something that had been on the cards for longer than I would have believed.

“Things tend to happen slowly and suddenly, and it was about September last year at Sophia [Prendeville, Hardhat’s client engagement lead] he said, ‘Why don’t we try to get this book out for Christmas? I don’t think it will be that difficult: we have already produced a lot of content and we still have 12 weeks or so’.

I thought it was a very reasonable job. Surprisingly, it was more work and more fun than we thought!”

The book comes out in two weeks The Why A newsletter, something Monheit had already been sending out to thousands of sellers over the past few years.

“The thing that made it The Why partly it was my passion – I’m always observant and curious about people’s unusual behaviour. Now, many people ask me questions – it all started when my friend asked me why she felt like holding her shoe boxes and expensive jewelry, and it it flowed from there.

“The next thing you know, I had people asking me about everything from standing outside full restaurants, to New Year’s resolutions, to horse milk. . It’s been this real labor of love – it’s one of those things where two weeks later, it’s like ‘I can’t believe it’s been two weeks and I have to do it. another’, but it’s actually the most fun thing. I do two weeks.

“Writing that book almost seemed like a no-brainer. A lot of people were asking if we were going to do a book version, and we said, ‘yeah, let’s cheat’.

Dan Monheit - The Why, The Book

Monheit said the “wave” of behavioral science is growing as more marketers become aware of the cognitive biases responsible for our actions.

“I’m doing what I can here, but people like Rory Sutherland in the UK and Dan Ariely in the US show that there are a lot of great thinkers out there, and more importantly, a lot of work from the field. .

“I think all marketers are starting to remember that we’re all in the game of behavior change. It’s a field of study that’s completely devoted to why people behave the way they do and make the choices they do. it feels like a good thing to pass on.”

Monheit said marketers are a naturally curious bunch who spend a lot of time reading, writing and asking how things work — so it’s important for them to ask questions about our motivations and desires as humans.

“There are questions about how these different things work – Web3, ChatGPT, production models, social media marketing, content marketing. It’s great that we’re asking all these things, but the thing we don’t don’t like to ask it anywhere, especially as we continue our work, that’s how people work.

“People are the second part of the equation to the other things we try to understand. Another reason it’s important for marketers to understand human behavior is because when we don’t ask how people work, we tend to think they act like pragmatic, rational people, when in fact, most of our decisions could not be more pragmatic and reasonable if we tried.”

Monheit said that since the illustrations and size of the copy had been completed before he began the work of writing the book, a great deal of time was spent on editing and proofreading it.

“Once that was done, we had to figure out how to go from a PDF on the screen to a beautiful, illustrated, fun, engaging book on the shelves.

“The guys at Good One Creative, who did all the illustrations, also took care of the whole printing side and really helped them work hard to solve it.

“I woke up yesterday morning to see that we are now the number one seller on Amazon in the Marketing & Consumer Behavior category. I almost fell off my chair! You ask if people are still interested in behavioral science, the answer is yes , at least this week from a sample of one.”

Monheit said there are three books he would recommend to those interested in learning more about behavioral science.

“For me, the classics are like that Encourage from Richard Thaler, is one of the first; Unprecedented from Dan Ariely was kind of the one that I think really set me on my way [to writing my own book]; and Rory Sutherland’s most recent one called Alchemy I read well again. “

Monheit said that advertisements for curiosity sellers mean that they are the main market for the book.

“If you are a marketer, then within you there is a natural interest in why people do the things they do. This is a very interesting, easy-to-read book that will help you understand and realize things that have happened throughout your life.”

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