Buyology: How Everything We Believe About Why We Buy is Wrong by Martin Lindstrom
This book = an amazing blend of science and marketing.
If you’ve ever wondered why you purchase some of the things you do (for me it’s the iphone) then you need to read this book.
Martin’s research centers on something called neuromarketing, which means he is doing brain scans (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to figure out if and why people actually do like/buy/try a product or service.
The reason? Martin says the most market research is ultimately flawed is because people are poor at reporting their own actions.
For example one of his studies was on reality tv. Asking people if they would watch it the show again proved a poor test, most said no. The scanning however, told a different story. He was able to accurately predict which of the reality shows would be a big success based on the scans.
Martin believes that traditional research methods like asking customers why they buy only gives you a tiny insight.
“Most of us can’t really say, I bought that Louis Vuitton bag because it appealed to my sense of vanity, and I want my friends to know I can afford a $500 purse, too.”
If you’re slightly paranoid and have a bit of a ‘big brother is watching’ type belief then I would NOT recommend this book! Some of this stuff is scary! Particularly from an ethical viewpoint, and, as with most tools, this brain-scanning type of research could definitely be used for good or evil!
One of my favourite parts of the book fcosues on branding and how much emotion plays a part in the choices we make. I think this chapter very close to the truest words I’ve seen on branding which is this: everything is perceptual.
“…when we brand things, our brains perceive them as more special and valuable than they really are.”
Here’s a few more interesting snippets:
- “Why? Because emotions are the way in which our brains encode things of value, and a brand that engages us emotionally—think Apple, Harley-Davidson, and L’Oréal, just for starters—will win every single time.”
“But again, what’s beginning to show up in the fledgling world of brain scanning is the enormous influences our emotions have on every decision we make.”
- “So buyers beware. Because the future of advertising isn’t smoke and mirrors—it’s mirror neurons. And they will prove even more powerful in driving our loyalty, our minds, our wallets, and our Buyology than even the marketers themselves could have anticipated.”
- “In all my years helping companies develop and strengthen their brands, there’s one thing I’ve seen time and time again: rituals help us form emotional connections with brands and products.”
- “But the question remains: Is it the sex that is selling or the controversy? Evidence points to the latter.”
And if you’re doing product placements then you need to read the chapter on American Idol
(Martin studied the different sponsors of American Idol, including Ford and Coca-Cola and figured out what types of placements do and don’t work)
- “So why was Coke’s strategy so successful, while Ford’s wasn’t? They both spent the same stupendous amount of money on their media campaigns.”
- “To understand the results, think back to the way in which their advertising was integrated into the program. Coke permeated 60 percent of the show’s running time with its artfully placed cups, furniture evoking the shape of its bottles, and Coke-red walls. Ford, on the other hand, simply ran traditional commercials that didn’t intrude on the program at all.”
- “In short, the results revealed that we have no memory of brands that don’t play an integral part in the storyline of a program.”
- “What’s more, in order for product placements to work, the product has to make sense within the show’s narrative.”
Want more? Grab the book here.