What are mental models and why are they important?

Mental models are simple thought processes that represent how things work in reality.

A mental model is any sort of concept, framework, or worldview that you carry around in your mind to help you interpret the world and understand the relationship between things. Think of them as mental tools and shortcuts you can use to get the best results.

Mental models help us simplify complex things so we can reason through them and make better decisions.

And that's the crux of doing your best work, of being strategic, of being able to think for yourself: making better decisions repeatedly and avoiding bad decisions.

But I'd be remiss if I didn't also talk about what we're applying mental models to in this course: marketing.

What is marketing?

Seth Godin says:

"Marketing is our quest to make change on behalf of those we serve, and we do it by understanding the irrational [and rational] forces that drive each of us.”

It's the generous act of helping others become who they seek to become. It involves creating honest stories—stories that resonate and spread.”

"It's the journey to make change happen in a fully consensual way. To engage with people, not at them, to bring our work to those that would miss it if it were gone. Marketers create tension, the tension of change and of missing out.

But marketers seek volunteers, not victims.

We do our best work when we act as if we don’t have the power to force people to follow along. Which is a good thing, because in the long run, we don’t have the power. All we have is a chance to make things better."

And all can be summarized in these seven words: "People like us do things like this."

Marketing is about making a connection and then making an invitation.

And we can use mental models as the underlying, psychological tools to make that connection and invitation. They will help you on your quest to make change, to understand the forces that drive each of us, to create stories that spread, and to create the tension that facilitates action.

Mental Models For Marketing


Learn how to use mental models — simple frameworks for thinking — to be more strategic, produce the best work of your life, and think like a top-tier marketer.

Enrollment closes September 6th!

Already enrolled?
Sign in to continue learning.