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Marketing Metaphoria: What Deep Metaphors Reveal About the Minds of Consumers Hardcover – Apr 1 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Press; 1 edition (April 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422121151
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422121153
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.4 x 2.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #267,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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By sean s. TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 4 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gerald Zaltman is an emeritus professor at Harvard Business School. His previous book, How Customers Think (2003), is undoubtedly one of the most important marketing books of the past decade, with ground-breaking insights based on the latest scientific research on page after page.

In How Customers Think he discusses cutting edge psychology about the unconscious mind that throws old marketing models into question.

For example, he points out that as much as 95 percent of consumers' thinking occurs in their unconscious minds, by far the most important force behind their decisions. He convincingly makes the case that unconscious reactions to marketing stimuli are more accurate indicators of actual thought and subsequent behaviour than the conscious reports consumers often provide, for example in focus groups.

Needless to say, these findings are paradigm-changing for marketing, and Dr. Zaltman's thinking was instrumental in the Advertising Research Foundation's important "Getting Emotional about Engagement" initiative.

In Marketing Metaphoria, Zaltman shifts his focus from the science of the unconscious to some marketing implications/ recommendations. And while the science remains unimpugnable, some of the marketing recommendations he makes are quite debatable.

For instance, Zaltman suggests that due to the limited number of "deep metaphors" (he discusses the 7 most frequent ones in detail), global (as opposed to merely local) communication platforms can and should be built on these metaphors.

This is exactly the opposite position from that of Clotaire Rapaille in his book the Culture Code (2006), who insists that cultural specificities in unconscious codes should be respected for optimal communications.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Much less than expected Aug. 26 2009
By Felipe Korzenny - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read Gerald Zaltman's work over the years. Sometimes he has made real important contributions. This time I am afraid to say that he promises something he does not deliver.

His (their) "metaphor" approach is supposed to be the subject of the book. But instead of sharing how to go about uncovering metaphors, the authors spend their time reverse engineering commercials and providing ex-post-facto explanations that justify the "theory" of deep metaphors. Qualitative market researchers have been asking consumers for metaphors since I can remember. For about 30 years I have asked consumers to tell me "what is it like to" do something, etc. Consumers do respond with metaphors that can be very useful. So, what is so proprietary about this approach? To be fair the book offers a taxonomy of metaphors. But the taxonomy does little to help the marketer actually connect with the consumer (unless you buy their consulting services). Because metaphors work in-context, and in-culture, not in a vacuum. The authors attempt to erase the importance of culture by claiming that understanding universals is enough. That contributes to marketing misconceptions instead of advancing the discipline.

I would like to caution readers that this approach to attract clients to their practice is unlikely to advance our understanding of consumer behavior. Post-hoc rationalizations can be interesting, but anyone can explain past events. The problem is predicting them.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Only one criticism kept this from being a five star review May 13 2008
By Dave Lakhani - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Let me start by saying I think that Gerald Zaltman is a marketing genius and I love all of his work including this book.

His detailed explanation of the deep myths that are effective in advertising and creating stories that sell is impressive. His research is clearly deep and insightful. But, he doesn't give a clear path to illiciting metaphors in your own group (he uses his proprietary process, Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique) and he gives more information about that in his previous book "How Customers Think." He also doesn't give a clear outline of how marketers might implement his findings in their own work. I'd like to have seen more specific examples around how you can apply these techniques in the stories you create.

This book deserves deep study though for the metaphors he idendifies and the motivating examples he uses to demonstrate each metaphor. With a little thought, creattivity and experimentation you'll be able to figure out how to apply them to your own creative and to your strategies.

The book is very easy to read and understand and in typical Zaltman fashion he makes very detailed research easy to understand and read. This along with his previous book should be on your regular research shelf. I realize I'm being a little picky about my criticism of this book but I'm so used to walking away feeling like I have new immediately implementable tools and this time I felt great but like he'd left some of his magic out and I missed it.

Get this book, you'll be very happy you did.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Resource to Transform Your Thinking June 2 2008
By Michael McCarthy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
By way of full disclosure, I was a graduate assistant for Jerry Zaltman when he was a Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Naturally, I've followed Jerry's many publications for these past 20 years and have never found the time I've invested in reading his latest ideas less than incredibly worthwhile.

Interestingly, I bought this book based solely on the title and my expectation that it would be full of new ideas and insights about how using metaphors in marketing tactics would influence consumer behavior. While this book does cover material related to that sort of thing, it really covers so much more. The first two chapters on thinking deeply, "Workable Wondering" and focusing on consumer similarities set the stage for how to take the insights and ideas from the next 7 chapters (one per each deep metaphor) and incorporate them into your own thinking. The last chapter ties things together and presents a number of ideas for how Deep Metaphors may influence a number of marketing strategies and tactics.

This book is written to stimulate your thinking about how Deep Metaphors apply in many areas of marketing and consumer behavior. It doesn't present a list of "to dos" or lay out a plan of action that you should follow. Instead, you'll find yourself seeing what you, your consumers and your competitors do in a new light.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Timely and much needed Aug. 9 2008
By Mark - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Zaltmans' new book can truly be described as insightful. I know Jerry to be an astute and visionary commentator on consumer behavior. Anybody who has read "How Customers Think" will know that. What "Marketing Metaphoria" illustrates so well is that only by probing deep into the way people think about and view the world around them can one hope to connect with consumers in a visceral and enduring way. The book provides a framework for identifying such "implicit cognitive influences" (see back cover) - here in the form of deep matephors - and that is what makes it important reading.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Getting managers thinking May 14 2008
By Ms. J. S. Rees - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Another great book from Zaltman, with more excellent insights into the way people think.

I found it a more straightforward read than the excellent 'How Customers Think'. And it has an even blunter message for managers: "Start paying proper attention to how your customers really make their buying decisions, or miss out!"

As a metaphor elicitation specialist I was wowed by some of the fine detail, such as the description of the relationship between deep metaphor and emotion. But if most readers focus on the high-level message - the crucial importance of deep metaphor in guiding human behaviour - I'll be absolutely delighted!

If, like reviewer Dave Lakhani, you're disappointed by the book's lack of a detailed methodology for eliciting metaphors, why not check out a non-proprietary technique such as Clean Language? Though I suppose I would say that, wouldn't I... :-)

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