4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Some valid insights but definitely does not deliver on the 'how everything we believe on why we buy is wrong' promise,
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This review is from: Buyology: How Everything We Believe About Why We Buy is Wrong (Paperback)
In fact - pretty much everything people, who have been involved more than superficially in branding and marketing think about how people buy, is confirmed as right by the book.
The idea of neuromarketing is definitely appealing and the process of supplanting relatively basic survey type attitudinal research with a version of the approaches the author suggests (fMRI / SSL) is definitely valid and much to be recommended. Some of the insights so derived at the beginning of the book are pretty interesting.
Unfortunately the author does not dwell on how to apply th methods or go into sufficient detail on that part but launches into several 'myth-busting' episodes, which show more the author's lack of knowledge of the state of knowledge in psychology and consumer behaviour than that readers have unfounded preconceptions.
The author confounds the problem by first claiming how all survey based attitudinal research is largely useless and then proceeds to use only this type of data for several of the chapters to prove points later on in the book (for instance on the selling power of sex). I am not per se disagreeing with the conclusion that sex does not sell but the way this conclusion was reached was relatively dubious.
At the end of the day this is more about being a promotional tool for the author as a guru and his consulting services than it is a real scholarly or deeply insightful book. In addition to some interesting parts early on, I see the main benefit of it as a tool for nudging some dinosaurs still present in marketing departments to start thinking in the right direction - i.e. towards using proven tools that actually work, rather than tools that have always been used 'around here'.
There are some aspects of the book, which are particularly galling and which made me lower my rating from an otherwise possible 3 to 2 stars. First of all, the author seems largely blissfully unaware of research efforts predating him. Looking at something as old as Ogilvy's Confessions of an Advertising Man a lot of the same principles were known even back in 1962 - not from neuromarketing, for sure, but from direct marketing, where response to campaign stimuli could be measured directly and easily even back then. A lot of biases and heuritics described herein can be read about in much more detail (and more correctly) in something like Choices, Values, and Frames. The list goes on and on. Ignoring all the preceding research, which shows the same points and with ample empyrical evidence to back it up and claiming that the author was the first one to join the scientific method and marketing is laughable and simply detracts from the author's credibility.
On top of that he often gets caught in his own gurudom to the extent where judgements are passed without any justification, just because he finds them intuitively appealing (examples such as the tyre industry one have demonstrably been proven in research to be wrong). And then there is the general level of sloppiness creeping in, unbefitting to a brand expert - Toyota Scion anyone? Energizer bunny being unique (how about the practically identical, down to the colour, Duracell bunny) and many others.