Buyology by Martin Lindstrom does not quite deliver on its cover claim of “How everything we believe about why we buy is wrong” but the book is a worthwhile intro to the topic of neuroscience marketing. People enjoy thinking that we are rational and calculating, but studies show that in reality we are often driven by chemical messages and backwards-rationalizing our decisions.
Companies have realized that using focus groups and self-reporting is often highly inaccurate because test subjects often do not know themselves why they prefer one product over another. This could also explain why 52% of all new brands and 80% of all new product launches, even if supported by major advertising campaigns, fail within the first few months.
This is where fMRI brain scans and STT electroencephalographs come in – measurement of target consumers allows advertisers to create truly effective targeted advertising. Now images and messages are tuned so that they have the maximum impact in releasing endorphins or dopamine. Interesting findings from the research in the book:
Maybe I am just too jaded, but I already believed that companies are using various subtle ways to increase our spending. So I have grown a thick skin and try to ignore the marketing messages. Apparently so do most people, as people could on average, according to Nielsen’s surveys, recall details of only 2.2 commercials of all the commercials they had ever seen.
Lindstrom’s Buyology confirmed that companies are not satisfied with the dismal performance of advertising 1.0 and have taken sales to the next level by incorporating neuromarketing into the design of their sales campaigns.