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Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy [Hardcover]

Martin Lindstrom , Paco Underhill
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 21 2008
How much do we know about why we buy? What truly influences our decisions in today’s message-cluttered world? An eye-grabbing advertisement, a catchy slogan, an infectious jingle? Or do our buying decisions take place below the surface, so deep within our subconscious minds, we’re barely aware of them?

In BUYOLOGY, Lindstrom presents the astonishing findings from his groundbreaking, three-year, seven-million-dollar neuromarketing study, a cutting-edge experiment that peered inside the brains of 2,000 volunteers from all around the world as they encountered various ads, logos, commercials, brands, and products. His startling results shatter much of what we have long believed about what seduces our interest and drives us to buy. Among his finding:

Gruesome health warnings on cigarette packages not only fail to discourage smoking, they actually make smokers want to light up.


Despite government bans, subliminal advertising still surrounds us – from bars to highway billboards to supermarket shelves.

"Cool” brands, like iPods trigger our mating instincts.

Other senses – smell, touch, and sound - are so powerful, they physically arouse us when we see a product.

Sex doesn't sell. In many cases, people in skimpy clothing and suggestive poses not only fail to persuade us to buy products - they often turn us away .

Companies routinetly copy from the world of religion and create rituals – like drinking a Corona with a lime – to capture our hard-earned dollars.

Filled with entertaining inside stories about how we respond to such well-known brands as Marlboro, Nokia, Calvin Klein, Ford, and American Idol, BUYOLOGY is a fascinating and shocking journey into the mind of today’s consumer that will captivate anyone who’s been seduced – or turned off – by marketers’ relentless attempts to win our loyalty, our money, and our minds. Includes a foreword by Paco Underhill.

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Review

"A page-turner"
-Newsweek

" Lindstrom dishes up results, alongside a buffet of past research, with clear writing and deft reasoning."
-Fast Company

“Lindstrom … has an encyclopedic knowledge of advertising history and an abundance of real-world business experience”
-The Washington Post

“Martin Lindstrom, the boy wonder of branding, tells that the future of shopping is all in the mind”
-The Sunday Times (UK)

“Shatters conventional wisdom”
- CNBC

"...brings together a great many strands of research to build a fascinating case. The writing is snappy and the book’s a page turner"
-BBC Focus Magazine

“Lindstrom's research should be of interest to any company launching a new product or brand”
-USA Today

"Lindstrom...has an original, inquisitive mind...His new book is a fascinating look at how consumers perceive logos, ads, commercials, brands, and products."
-Time

“When someone tells you that a book is a "page-turner," you probably think of the latest top-list best-seller. Now you'll think of Buyology….Pick up a copy of this book and get one of those highlighting thingamajiggies before you fix your ad budget for the new year. "Buyology" is definitely money well-spent.”
-The Eagle Tribune


“An entertaining and informative tome”
-The Seattle Examiner


“Why do rational people act irrationally? Written like a fast paced detective novel, "Buyology" unveils what neuromarketers know about our decision making so we can buy and sell more insightfully."
- Dr. Mehmet C Oz Professor of Surgery, Columbia University, and author of YOU -The Owner’s Manual

“Move over Tipping Point and Made to Stick because there’s a new book in town: Buyology. This book lights the way for smart marketers and entrepreneurs.”
-Guy Kawasaki, Author of The Art of the Start

"Martin Lindstrom is one of branding's most original thinkers"
-Robert A. Eckert, CEO & Chairman, Mattel, Inc.

“Lindstrom takes us on a fascinating journey inside the consumer brain. Why do we make the decisions we do? Surprising and eye opening, Buyology is a must for anyone conducting a marketing campaign.”
-
Ori Brafman, author of the bestselling book, Sway

"Full of intriguing stories on how the brain, brands and emotions drive consumer choice. Martin Lindstrom’s brilliant blending of marketing and neuroscience supplies us with a deeper understanding of the dynamic, largely unconscious forces that shape our  decision making. One reading of this book and you will look at consumer and producer behavior in an entirely new light.”
-Philip Kotler, Ph.D., S. C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

"A riveting read. Challenging, exciting, provocative, clever, and, even more importantly, useful!"
-Andrew Robertson, CEO & President, BBDO Worldwide


Lindstrom can be a charming writer. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of advertising history and an abundance of real-world business experience

About the Author

MARTIN LINDSTROM was voted one world's 100 most influential people of 2009 by Time Magazine for his work on neuromarketing. With a global audience of over a million people, Lindstrom,one of the world's most respected marketing gurus, spends 300 days on the road every year, advising top executives of companies including McDonald's Corporation, Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company and GlaxoSmithKline. He has been featured in The Washington Post, USA TODAY, Fast Company, and more. His previous book, BRANDsense, was acclaimed by the Wall Street Journal as one of the ten best marketing books ever published.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A lot of hype, not much substance July 28 2009
By Andrea
Format:Hardcover
(This review has also been posted to LibraryThing)

The entire time I was reading this, I found myself wishing that it had been written by Malcolm Gladwell instead. It was so full of Lindstrom's self-promotion and narcisistic asides that it got distracting.

Many of the ideas Lindstrom presents are interesting (e.g. "smashable" brands, mirror neurons, the role of product placement - the analysis of product placement on American Idol was particularly interesting), but he just lists example after example without really getting into the details of why or how things work the way they do.

Lindstrom does the same with the neuromarketing studies the book is supposed to be about; he goes on and on about how groundbreaking the results are but glosses over the methodology and doesn't really give us much more than the bare minimum for the results. I came away not really knowing why many of his studies were as revolutionary as he claims. Also, having a science background, I questioned some of his methods and results from what little explanation was provided.

Overall: a book with lots of potential that turned out to be tedious and unsatisfying.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Preliminary Conclusions About Neuromarketing Nov. 17 2008
By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
As Martin Lindstrom explains in the Introduction, he set out to understand "what's going on in our brains that makes us chose one brand over another - what information passes through our brain's filter and what information doesn't -- well that would be key to truly building brands of the future." After completing a three-year, multimillion-dollar "journey" with 2,081 volunteers he enlisted (from America, England, Germany, Japan, and the Republic of China), he shares what are best viewed as preliminary conclusions about neuromarketing.

In fact, as I read this book, I became convinced that whatever revelations (albeit preliminary) the research study might provide would have broader and deeper implications with regard to how most (if not all) people make decisions, not only about brands but also about questions to answer, problems to solve, opportunities to pursue, perils to avoid, etc. One of Lindstrom's several objectives was (and is) to gain a better understanding of "our own seemingly irrational behavior - whether it's why we buy a designer shirt or how we assess a job candidate"...or those who seek the presidency of the United States. Once we gain such an understanding, Lindstrom asserts, we actually gain [begin italics] more [end italics] control, not less, over the decision-making process.

Others have shared their reasons for holding this book in such high regard. Here are three of mine. First, Lindstrom immediately establishes and then sustains a personal rapport with his reader. He makes brilliant use of direct address but also of first-person plural pronouns that make the reader feel as if she or he was a companion during the "journey" to which Lindstrom refers. In fact, each reader completes her or his own journey also.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Self-Promoting Marketing Piece But Has Some Value Sept. 24 2009
By Bart Breen TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Martin Lindstrom is a high energy marketing consultant who has a lot to say about himself, and while taking short rests from that activity provides some interesting information about the pruported subject of the book, neuromarketing.

The real purpose of the book appears to be the promotion of the author's own self-reported status as a marketing guru but truth be told, Lindstrom does have some interesting information to impart. Neuromarketing is an increasingly used tool in politics and product promotion. The traditional mediums of marketing are rapidly changing and the costs of marketing are demanding better targetting and assessment of the potential impact of the messages being purchased.

That understood, the sections of the book that I found particularly interesting related to branding and religion as well as the recurring theme of cigarette advertising and how the campaigns aimed against tobacco may ironically still be promoting or at least reinforcing its use, at least among those already addicted and using it. There is indeed much to be learned about what takes place at a sub-conscious level and these tools in the hands of marketers looking for the "magic buy button" Lindstrom refers to several times are navigating increasingly differentiating audiences and overburdened, overexposed minds that are increasingly conditioned to filter out advertising noise.

If you can tolerate the marketing with the book itself, there's enough here to make it a worthwhile read.

3 Stars

Bart Breen
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars IN THE SWEET BUY AND BUY Oct. 28 2008
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Do you buy something because you need it? Umm, perhaps. Did you really want the last item you bought? Maybe. Neuromarketing guru Martin Lindstrom has invested years of research into exploring the reasons why we buy, how we are affected even subconsciously to make a purchase. Of course, this is fascinating information for marketers but it was even more intriguing to me as a consumer (especially in today's economy). Just as biology is a study of living organisms, Buy-Ology is a study of living buyers and sellers.

Breathes there a woman alive who hasn't wondered why on earth she bought a blouse she has yet to wear? Or, at our house a husband who hasn't bought something for his workbench that remains shiny and unused?

Lindstrom brings to light precisely how marketers use science and religion to sell. For instance, just as in religion think of how top selling brands utilize symbols. I can spot my brand of detergent from across a store simply by the symbol on the front of the box, and that symbol elicits a good response from me.

One statement I found a bit intimidating was that we make 90% of our decisions subconsciously or due to a subconscious reaction. I'm still pondering that. I'd really like to think that my buying decisions are made quite consciously with an eye to our budget, but I know that's not so when I remember my tendency to overspend during holiday seasons.

Now, blue is and always been my favorite color. But, I didn't know that the sight of a robin's egg blue Tiffany box made women's hearts beat faster. And, a number of stores and product lines seem to believe that sex sells while Lindstrom says not so.

The data in Buy-Ology isn't at all dry as you may find yourself on quite a few pages. And, Don Leslie's reading makes the discoveries even more enjoyable.

- Gail Cooke
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