I've read a couple of the classic books on behavioural economics ('Thinking, Fast and Slow' by Daniel Kahneman & 'Nudge' by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein), and whilst I found elements of those books interesting and they have clearly had a big influence, they were pretty dry and hard-going to read at times.
'The Choice Factory' is the perfect antidote-it's very accessible, easy-to-read and a real page-turner. I can't remember how I first stumbled across Richard Shotton but I have been following him on Twitter for a couple of months and he consistently tweets interesting and educational things which inspired me to purchase this book as soon as it was published.
Within the first five pages I knew the book was special because it's incredibly well-written, it consolidates and simplifies a lot of the experiments I've read about in various books over the years and it taught me some new things. It's also very funny in places-I laughed out loud on more than one occasion.
If you work in advertising/marketing then this book is clearly an essential purchase for you but even if you don't (as I don't), I would recommend this book to anyone as we are all consumers so we can all learn a thing or two from reading this book. If you've never read any books on behavioural economics before then is a great introduction to the subject and I can't wait to work my way through some of the books suggested in the 'Further reading' section at the end of 'The Choice Factory.'
This is a great little book, full of interesting nuggets of information and practical suggestions for putting theories into practice.
There are 25 short chapters, each describing a bias exhibited in human behaviour and how they might be exploited in order to create a more effective marketing campaign. Much reference is made to notable advertising campaigns and space is given to leading industry figures to weigh in with their opinions.
This book is also an excellent primer on behavioural science. I had heard of many of the biases before but having them all presented together is really helpful and helps the reader compare and contrast quite readily. While other books go into much more depth on some of the ideas, this conveys essential concepts quickly - ideal if this is your first foray into behavioural science. (If you don't work in marketing, however, you will find it interesting but large chunks may be less relevant)
I've worked in advertising analytics for a decade and I know Richard to be one of the foremost thinkers and practioners in the field. This is apparent throughout because he is able to draw on first-hand experience running experiments, gathering data and planning campaigns. It's also worth following him on Twitter - @rshotton - to benefit from a near-constant stream of ideas or concepts that have crossed his desk. Some people hoard their learning - Richard is extremely generous with his.
(Extremely) Minor quibbles: As the book progresses, the author describes how each bias might occur in the course of a single day. I found some of these to be slightly contrived in places. Also, because the chapters are self-contained, there can be superfluous repetition, e.g., one industry figure was introduced in almost the same way in two chapters very close to each other. A slightly larger quibble relates to a well-known study referenced uncritically in a chapter. Given that another study is ruthlessly (and correctly) dissected in the book, I'd have liked to have seen similar analysis across the board.
However, the book entirely succeeds in its aims and I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone working in marketing who wishes to understand more about the strange ways that we all behave when it comes to making purchases.
Carefully split into short, easy to read chapters, each refers to a 'bias' as to why customers/consumers do what they do and what/who influences them to do so - AKA behavioural science. With some amazing insights, you can learn the secrets that advertisers have been using for years to change consumer behaviour, swaying them towards their products and away from others. All fascinating stuff. But it's not just about big brands and global companies. At the end of each bias, there's a helpful "How to apply this effect" section. So if you're a business owner or sole trader, you can use what you've learned in real terms to get the advantage over your competitors. A useful book and a fascinating read for anyone with an interest in advertising, marketing, copywriting, and the art of subliminal persuasion, that you can dip in and out of at your leisure time and again. Highly recommended.
Behavioural science is a key area of development in recent years for anyone in the creative industries. But many of the books on the topic aren't exactly page turners. This book changes all of that. Richard has crafted a book that tells the story of behavioural science in a way thay's engaging and specifically aimed at marketing and advertising professionals. For all of those reasons, this book will help you learn a lot in a short space of time (I read it in just a few days) and it's also really handy to dig into when you're working on a specific problem.
The great thing is this book is good for anyone at any level of seniority. For CEO's looking for a brief overview of the field, start here. For marketers and strategists, learn why the data and stats you rely on need to be challenged for unconscious bias they probably contain. And for creatives, this is a great primer on the sort of stuff you need to be thinking about over and above a cursory glance at Google Analytics.
Richard Shotton has written a very well built book on 25 behavioural biases that influence what we buy . From each of them he deploys what it means in people lives and to the brand and the business results. Specially remarcable is how he translates each bias in an opportunity to improve the business in each possible way, from relevancy, to atttention grabbing, persuasion or effective campaigns. With well proven methods through experimentation and case results, he shows insights and gives ways and tools to be effective in the market leveraging any of the 25 bias that shape human behaviour for the best of the business that understand them and translates the learnings to improve the way the develop the best marketing. Don't lose a great opportunity to improve your knowledge and practice with this book, well written and full of practical ideas.
There are many books available currently on the subject of neuromarketing & behavioural economics, but few are as good as Richard Shotton’s “Choice Factory”. All too often books on these subjects are overly verbose and “chatty” in tone and, while they undoubtedly contain nuggets of real insight, how to apply the recommendations therein to real world marketing situations is less than clear.
Don't get me wrong, behavioural economics cannot be applied in a “paint by numbers” style - it is a mix of art and science - but Shotton’s concise and explicit writing style certainly lends itself to practical application.
Each of the 25 chapters in the book deals with a different cognitive bias - scarcity, loss aversion, primacy effect, confirmation bias, etc. Over 100 biases have been identified, but Shotton has carefully selected the ones which lend themselves to marketing applications. Each chapter has a detailed explanation of the bias, supported by robust real-world research and heavy-weight academic study. But more importantly each chapter ends with practical applications for the biases - ideas and techniques which you can apply to a myriad of marketing situations.
This book has been unashamedly written with the professional marketer in mind, and whether you specialise in advertising, “traditional” marketing, digital marketing, PR, social media, website architecture and design, copywriting, etc., then I guarantee that you will find a wealth of useful information and techniques in these pages.
Richard has done a brilliant job in taking insights from the disparate discipline of behavioural science (covering principles from behavioural economics and social psychology, amongst others) and turning them into easy-to-understand, practical and useful tools for applying to the world of advertising. In an industry where too frequently creativity and guesswork alone is often considered to be “enough”, this is a welcome reminder that there is a whole world of applicable knowledge out there that is simply too often ignored – and why so much advertising is needlessly ineffective.
This book should become a set text for anyone in the advertising world, at all levels. Richard’s relatable and straightforward style makes it a pleasure to read - you will learn something even if you are already familiar with the concepts, as he brings his own research to the table alongside the more well-known experiments.
As someone working in the world of applied behavioural science, including training people in advertising roles, I have had no hesitation in recommending this to my clients and delegates. I have high hopes it will help raise the knowledge levels and interest in the industry, which will benefit practitioners like me, and agency folk and clients alike.
If you want to change behaviour – and you should – then this is a must-read.
I devoured The Choice Factory, it is such an accessible and intelligent read. Packed full of insights and practical inspiration regarding how these different biases could inform communications planning (and even, in some instances, product development). It is very easy to navigate, as each bias has its own chapter, I know I will be using this book as a reference point for future planning. I'll be recommending this book to the planners and strategists I work with, although they'll have to get their own, I'm not lending mine to anyone.
I really can't recommend this book enough to anyone in the marketing communications field, as it says on the back cover "before you can influence decisions, you need to understand what drives them". In 'The Choice Factory' Shotton takes a look at some of the fascinating findings from behavioural science and how they can be applied to advertising and marketing communications to make the marketing more effective. I've read only a little on behavioural science but this really is a much more accessible read than others I've read, it cites plenty of real life examples of effective marketing uses as well as the scientific experiments.
And although there's guidance on how to apply each bias, in his conclusion Shotton challenges us to "maintain a healthy scepticism about the explanations we hear", to be "wary of anecdotes when explaining behaviour" and warns that "we often mistake the interest and excitement of a story for the truth." He finishes by encouraging us not just to take his and the other scientists word for it but to go run our own experiments.
So if you want to learn about targeting context not just audiences, the use of social proof but how to avoid negative social proof, or how admitting a flaw may make your brand more appealing, this book might just be right for you too.
I have for a long time said that if you want to learn marketing and marketing communications, start by reading Byron Sharp's "How brands grow" and the three advertising effectiveness publications by Les Binet and Peter Field and you are better off than most practioners. And for the really ambitious, add Paul Feldwick's "The anatomy of humbug". Now I need to revise the list, as Richard Shotton manages to condense 25 behavioural biases into actionable learnings and insights with very real business potential into a book that is a must for anyone in marketing - or at least, anyone who wants to be successful in marketing. While Behavioural Economics is not new per se, Richard Shotton manages to both explain the biases and show their implications for marketing in a condensed and very hands-on way AND include the scientific references that show that this is not just someone's idea of a catchy marketing concept but real, hard, scientifically-proven facts and principles. Simply brilliant!