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4.5 out of 5 stars
46
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 21 August 2017
A great intro. to modern research on neurological explorations of buyer behaviour and a paradigm of consumer motivations and psychological pathways influencing consumer choice and decision making from marketing, advertising and design perspectives.

Simply written, the book provides case studies and explanations pertinent to today's marketing context and practice. Definitely worth reading and reasonably priced, I would recommend it to all who have contact with marketing in any form.
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on 11 March 2014
This is pretty much the only business marketing book I could find with a true grounding in psychology as a science. There are a few others that claim to be grounded in psychology, but they either don't really tell you anything practical, or don't actually base their claims on evidence. This book does both.

The basic theory is that people make purchase decisions based upon their active goals, and that business can be seen as tools to attain certain goals. I find this to be a much more practical way of implementing marketing than trying to elicit certain emotions, which doesn't really give you much of a framework to build on.

I would recommend this book to any business owner, marketeer or psychologist
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on 16 May 2013
There is an amazing fact near the start of Decoded, a new book from marketer Phil Barden. The average person takes 1.7 seconds to process the information in an advertisement in a magazine.

But this does not really matter because all good marketing needs is this 1.7 seconds. People are programmed to respond quickly to the hundreds of thousands of things they "see" every day.

If the marketing is right for what we are looking for, we will find the products we need. Even if we make mistakes, as we all do, all the time. But if we "were to reflectively think about every purchase decision in the supermarket, it would take so long to do our shopping that we would starve to death."

Barden's work builds on the field of behavioural economics pioneered by Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman, whose brilliant book Thinking Fast and Slow demonstrates that the way people behave is not as economists would like to think.

In a chapter on optimising the path to purchase, Barden shows how good marketing can change behaviour without changing minds. This is a must read chapter for retailers interested in laying out their shops to maximise sales.

In a 2006 paper two American academics showed how they could change what people ate by changing the order that food was presented in a canteen. For example:

· Broccoli was placed at the front and consumption rose by 10 per cent.

· Apples and oranges were put in a nice bowl and sales doubled.

· The ice cream freezer lid was changed to opaque and the number of students buying ice cream dropped from 30 per cent to 14 per cent.

· Including fruit in a fixed price lunch deal led to a 71 per cent increase in consumption. Making people pay more for cookies resulted in a 55 per cent fall in consumption.

· Putting the salad bar in front of the checkout tripled sales.

· Putting the chocolate milk behind the plain milk, making it difficult to reach, led to more students choosing plain milk.

"What these examples show is not exclusive to food consumption. They illustrate a general, fundamental result of decision science: that decisions are strongly influenced not only by what is presented but to a high degree by how it is presented," writes Barden.

"Classical economic theory is unable to explain these effects because the objective value and the objective costs of the lunch item have not changed. Broccoli is broccoli, whether it is placed at the beginning or in the middle of the lunch line."

As you read, ideas will spring forth for your shop. Consider a Snickers promotion, Barden cites. A sign "buy some for your freezer" resulted in average sales of 1.4 Snickers bars. A sign "buy 18 for your freezer" increased the average sale to 2.6. Think about it!

While at times this book is heavy on the science, it is a very rewarding read. A lot of the findings are common sense. But often we fail to apply common sense when we put our own objectives ahead of our customers' objectives. Reading Decoded will help you make money.
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The book starts with the thinking fast and slow ideas of unconscious and conscious deliberation and then links these concepts into marketing.

It's mainly written for marketing executives within large fmcg companies and while I found some of it interesting, I've come across much of the content in other neuromarketing type books. You might have the same problem.

The book makes the important points that both the situation and the consumer's goals are often overlooked in establishing brand preference and purchase. It can open up some interesting segmentation opportunities if they are ignored by competitors. It's something that I've stressed in my own marketing coaching for years, using the example of a business executive and how the decision about the choice of a restaurant varies depending on whether it's a business meeting, a romantic meal with his or her husband or wife or a family celebration.

The focus on large fmcg businesses means that I can't recommend it for small business owners. Too much is irrelevant. If you work in one of the targeted businesses, you will find it interesting and it serves as an introduction to the topic of neuromarketing. If you've already read a few of teh specialist books, I'm not sure you're going to get much from it either.

About my book reviews - I aim to be a tough reviewer because the main cost of a book is not the money to buy it but the time needed to read it and absorb the key messages. 3 stars is worthwhile.

Paul Simister, business coach
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 July 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The book has a 6 chapter content:

- Decision Science: Understanding the Why of Consumer Behaviour
- The Moment of Truth: Decoding Purchase Decision
- Decoding the Interface: How the Autopilot Perceives Touchpoints
- Optimizing the Path to Purchase: The Decision Interface Makes the Difference
- Goals: The Driving Forces of Purchase Decisions
- From Positioning to Touchpoints: Bringing Value to Life

Its subtitle is "the science behind why we buy" except it doesn't fully explain what it promises.

The author starts with the Cadbury "Gorilla Drummer"/"In the Air Tonight" advertisement. Almost everybody loved it; there were even debates as to whether or not it was a man in a gorilla suit or a real gorilla and if it was a real gorilla could a gorilla drum. Yes, it received plaudits and was a critical success - BUT what the author doesn't tell us is whether or not Cadbury sold more chocolate on the back of it.

He then asks the question why did "the sequel clearly fail?" but he doesn't tell us what the sequel was (though it is mentioned later in the book, a simple reference would have been useful), and he missed out the blatantly obvious answer - if you have a massive hit then the next must either surpass the previous one or will fail by comparison.

He puts up an advertisement up without the company logo or name and says "the brand isn't present and yet we all know it" ... erm ... well no ... I didn't have a clue.

It is like this all the way through the book.

As a psychologist this should have floated my boat but on completing reading this I was left with the dirty feeling that this is merely the taster (like an advertisement) for the Decoded website and business.
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on 1 July 2014
Not just for retail marketeers, Decoded is essential reading for all marketeers.

With so many choices available for customers these days is it critical, now more than ever, to understand your customers; why they make the decisions they do; and how to influence them to choose your product over a competitors.

Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy looks at previous research into consumer decision making and neuro-marketing which debunking certain myths and offering alternate theory's based on direct experience and latest thinking.

Written in a style that is approachable and effective, its something I keep on my desk (along with The E-Myth Revisited) to refer back to.
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on 28 May 2015
It is an Ok book. I've a degree in marketing, and it is about a brief summary of what I've learne, but nothing momore. So if you have knowledge about marketing, it's probably not that a great read, but if you want to get a food introduction to what is the essence of marketing, it's a good book.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Building on Daniel Kahneman's Nobel prize-winning work described in Thinking, Fast and Slow, Phil Barden applies the slow and fast thinking to the psychology of branding, marketing and consumer behaviour. Although not as entertaining or sure-footed as The Psychology of Price, Barden harnesses a huge amount of research material -- not just Kahneman's -- and there is something here for every marketer, brand strategist and PR guru intent on bettering their practice.

Although he draws on a great deal of research, Barden is clearly building heavily on his own 25 years experience in marketing, finding in the latest neuroscience the underlying reasons for things he (and others) have noticed over many years. He shows the scientific basis for many of the rules of thumb which are widely accepted but never proven, and introduces some interesting new techniques. Looking at blurred versions of logos and packaging, for example, is something that most marketers could apply very simply and cheaply.

This is an important book. It is ever so slightly ragged in style, but this is entirely forgivable given the range and scope of the material it marshals.

Strongly recommended for those in branding, marketing, PR and advertising. It may not be as accessible (or interesting) to the general reader.
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VINE VOICEon 28 August 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a VERY interesting read.

Having read dozens of books on persuading people to buy 'stuff', effective website conversion and hypnotic marketing, this book adds a solid scientific, evidence-based dimension to consumer behaviour, decision making (in the retail environment), subliminal influences and the driving forces behind purchasing decisions.

Printed on beautiful paper in full colour, not only is this a delight to read but also to own (hardback copy).

If you sell 'stuff', this will be a very interesting and useful book.
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VINE VOICEon 11 June 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book includes some important ideas from research on marketing that I found useful eye openers. These aren't original to the author, but it's a good set of choices about the big ideas to include. The book is also readable and covers a lot of research studies. It has many colourful pictures.

On the other hand, the psychology is used uncritically, the studies are not systematically referenced (often it is impossible to work out who did the study), and the captions for the pictures are uninformative and disappointing. At times it feels like the obvious is being stated using jargon and I was particularly suspicious that 'neuro' jargon was being used to give the reasoning a gloss of scientific impressiveness.

Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping is a much better book overall, and more scientific. To some extent my hopes for 'Decoded' were influenced by it having a similar title to "The science of shopping" so perhaps my disappointment was increased by this.

Overall, good content choices but unnecessarily unscientific presentation of the science.
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