Neuromarketing for Dummies (Book Review)

On October 1, 2013
Neuromarketing-for-dummiesBelow you can read the book review of Neuromarketing for Dummies (by Stephen Genco, Andrew Pohlmann and Peter Steidl) that I wrote for publication for the sixth issue of Neuromarketing Theory & Practice Magazine (published by Neuromarketing Science & Business Association).
A breakthrough for the field of neuroscience: in September 2013, Neuromarketing for Dummies presented our industry to a wide audience. This book (408 pages in 24 chapters) is the most comprehensive neuromarketing guide published until now. It should be part of the bookcase of anyone interested in understanding the science behind neuromarketing and decision-making.The authors acknowledge that marketing is devoted to influencing people, and because people have brains, marketers actually want to influence their brains. They distinguish neuromarketing from marketing, defining neuromarketing as the field of science that enables its’ users to get an objective understanding of decision making that also allows them to measure the effect of marketingefforts. This science is based on technology and an objective view of the human brain.
Neuromarketing is one of those topics that a lot of people talk about, but few people really understand.”

This book presents up-to-date case studies and scientific advances that can fundamentally change the way people think about the different aspects of evaluating, preferring, buying, selling or experiencing products. It explains the master variables of neuromarketing research; emotion, attention and memory. The authors also literally dissect the scientific foundations of neuromarketing, treating subjects such as Daniel Kahneman’s System 1 and System 2, the priming effect, the emotional “somatic markers”, approach / avoidance measurement, implicit memory or reverse inference, and much more.
It also offers a new perspective on consumer behavior: the intuitive consumer model. This is the opposite of the rational consumer model that underlies most traditional consumer research, classical economic and marketing theories. This model is used to develop predictive theories and measures of how consumers navigate and make decisions in today’s complex and noisy world. The contrast of the rational versus the intuitive consumer decision-making model is appealingly illustrated by two characters from the television series Star Trek: Mr. Spock (logical) and Dr. McCoy (emotional).
“Neuromarketing can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing, reduce the number of product and campaign failures, and ultimately make marketing more responsive to the real needs and wants of consumers.”

Many examples of using neuromarketing research to make marketing more brain-friendly are given. These include brand testing, product testing, packaging design, advertising, shopping environment, online experiences, TV shows, trailers, video games and product placement. Each type of testing is treated in a separate chapter that provides details on the methodology used, the kind of signals and measurement, the insights and the marketing outcomes. Both the benefits and the risks or drawbacks of each tool are reviewed elaborately. The authors explain how to choose the right approach depending on the research question and how to avoid designing inappropriate research. They also help in formulating hypotheses, choosing the right testing materials and population samples. The book also considers the practical and ethical considerations of using neuromarketing, as the industry is developing standards and practitioners needed to improve and prove validity and reliability.
Stephen Genco

Stephen Genco

Stephen Genco is a writer, speaker, and consultant in the field of neuromarketing. In 2006, he founded one of the first neuromarketing research firms, and from 2009 to 2012 he was Chief Innovation Officer at one of the largest. He is currently partnering with Intuitive Consumer Insights, where he focuses on neuromarketing education and consulting, helping clients develop and execute market research programs and business strategies that blend traditional research techniques with the latest advances in neuromarketing. Dr. Genco has over 20 years of experience as a consumer research innovator, entrepreneur, management consultant, social science researcher, and educator. He holds a doctorate, a master’s degree, and a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, as well as a master’s degree from the University of British Columbia.

Andrew Pohlmann

Andrew Pohlmann

Andrew Pohlmann has been a leader in business strategy and marketing for over 20 years. In 2008, he led the development of the world’s first global neuromarketing consultancy, helping numerous Fortune 100 and Global 50 firms integrate neuromarketing techniques into their understanding of consumer behavior. Andrew has held senior leadership roles, specializing in corporate strategy, product development, business development, and marketing. He has a deep background in management consulting and entrepreneurship, having helped launch two companies to acquisition. Andrew’s experience has spanned multiple industries and regions, including both institutional and consumer clients in North America, Europe, and Asia. Andrew has appeared at various events and programs around the globe with CNN International, American Marketing Association, ESOMAR, Nielsen 360, Institute for International Research, American Research Foundation, Ad Week and Foros El Spectador.

Peter Steidl

Peter Steidl

Peter Steidl has a remarkable blend of academic, intellectual, commercial and creative thinking skills that make him unlike anyone else. He has worked as a marketing academic, a researcher, an educator, an author and a speaker. So he understands brand theory. But he has also worked as an advertising, brand identity and media strategist; a business consultant; and a brand facilitator. So he’s been at the coal face and seen theory put into practice. He has worked with big businesses and big brands across a myriad of categories and in many different countries. At the heart of Peter’s skills is his genuine understanding and passion for brands. But he never looks at a brand in isolation – he always looks at brands in context of the category, the business, the competition, the product, the consumer and the communications – and he advises on opportunities to improve in all of these areas whether you ask for them or not.

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