As a marketing consultant, Martin Lindstrom knows that traditional market research processes such as focus groups are inherintly flawed. People often do not consciously understand what they like or do not like and the reasons why, so they give marketers inaccurate data. In an effort to learn more about the subconscious affects brand recognition and purchasing decisions, Lindstrom teams with a neurologist and conducts fMRI and SST studies on consumers.
Their experiments try to answer questions such as do warning labels on cigarette packages really deter smokers, does sex really sell, and does product placement on TV shows work? The answers are fascinating and may surprise you. Lindstrom's book is peppered with entertaining anecdotes of failed ventures from big brands such as Coke and Pepsi that illustrate his points.
This book is fast written and written in a very non-technical way. My only criticism of this book is that I would have like to have understood more about the neuroscience behind the experiments. Lindstrom states the results of his studies but no specifics, so I was often left wondering what particular part of the brain responded to an ad, or how did that response of the brain differ when viewing the different ads? Perhaps the author was trying to tell a story that a person with absolutely no scientific knowledge can read, but in my opinion by leaving out those details he risks the reader not understanding how interesting these experiments actually are.
Buyology will appeal to fans of The Tipping Point and similar books. I hope that there is a followup book - it will be interesting to find of if "neuromarketing" takes off, and how successful it is compared to traditional marketing strategies.
Perhaps I'm just too much of a curmedgeon, but I didn't really care for the book much at all. Another book that seemed like a decent essay/article/blog, fleshed out for a book contract; author's regular references to his brilliance I could've lived without.