I have been enjoying the book Buyology: Thruth and Lies About Why We Buy, which is based on a three-year neuromarketing study that involved brain scans of 2,000 volunteers from all over the world.
The book is a great read and describes some amazing findings – like the fact that the cigarette warnings on cigarette packages and ads may in fact be the killer marketing tool for cigarette manufacturers, as it induces craving for smoking in smokers.
Another finding is that we tend to lie to market researchers – not consciously, it’s just that our unconscious mind is better at interpreting our behavior (including why we buy) than our conscious mind. Needless to say that this finding spells disaster for the market research industry, on which companies spent $12 billion in 2007 in the US alone.
And if you thought it was getting harder to reach people with your advertising, check out the following passage:
By the time we reach the age of sixty-six, most of us will have seen approximately two million television commercials. Time-wise, that’s the equivalent of watching eight hours of ads seven days a week for six years straight. In 1965 a typical consumer had a 34 percent recall of those ads. In 1990, that figure had fallen to 8 percent. A 2007 ACNielsen phone survey of one thousand consumers found that the average person could name a mere 2.21 commercials of those they had ever seen, ever, period.1 Today, if I ask most people what companies sponsored their favorite TV shows—say, Lost or House or The Office—their faces go blank. They can’t remember a single one. I don’t blame them. Goldfish, I read once, have a working memory of approximately seven seconds—so every seven seconds, they start their lives all over again. Reminds me of the way I feel when I watch TV commercials.
The book also describes the importance of mirror neurons on buying behavior, the importance of “cool” on genetic survival, and much more…maybe I’ll have a few more posts on the topic in the near future.