Nancy Harhut

#395: How to Use Storytelling to Hack Human Behavior

#395: How to Use Storytelling to Hack Human Behavior

As a podcast host, you receive a lot of advertising, sales and marketing books to consider for your show.

But did you know that about 400,000 books are published every day? If just one percent of those are on sales and marketing, that’s 40,000 books in the category competing for attention and every 24 hours.

So you might imagine that most of them are rehashes of the same themes. You’d be right.

That’s why I love Nancy Harhut’s new book, Using Behavioral Science in Marketing: Drive customer action ad loyalty by prompting instinctive responses. She reveals how you can leverage the embedded behaviors or heuristics that motivate and drive consumer buying behaviors.

Nancy is the co-founder and chief creative officer of HBT Marketing. Getting people to take action is what Nancy is all about. Nancy has learned how people make buying decisions for emotional reasons and later justify those decisions with rational, logic-driven reasons. I always say, “Sell to the heart and the head will follow.”

Her specialty is blending best-of-breed creative with behavioral science to prompt response. She has held senior creative management positions with agencies within the IPG and Publicis networks.

Nancy and her teams have won over 200 international and national awards for marketing effectiveness. Along the way, she’s helped generate $68 million in incremental revenue for Nationwide, established seven controls for the GM Card, and created one of H&R Blocks’ most successful campaigns.

Recognized for her work in B2C, B2B, and nonprofit, Nancy’s been named one of the 10 Most Fascinating People in B2B Marketing, a Social Top 50 Email Marketing Leader, and a Top 40 Digital Strategist. A frequent speaker at marketing conferences, she’s shared her passion with audiences in London, Sydney, Moscow, Madrid, Stockholm, Sao Paulo, Berlin, Dubai, and all over the US, including several return engagements at SXSW.

Discussed in this episode:

  • How to use the Zeigarik Effect also known as the cliffhanger
  • Why heuristics evolved to conserve mental energy and how you can leverage these embedded behaviors
  • Why the word “because” is so powerful in your storytelling as an automatic compliance trigger.
  • Why autonomy bias might be the most potent heuristic of all.


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