April 23, 2015

Book Review : Neuromarketing in Action

"Neuromarketing in Action" by Patrick M.Georges, Anne-Sophie Bayle-Tourtoulou and Michel Badoc.

Of Purple Cows and Grey Matter

When was the last time you missed reading the fineprint in an advertisement or a document and it later came to haunt you. The smalltext or fineprint specifically targets the information processing rule in the brain that calls out 'The smaller it is, the more insignificant it is' and hence you gloss over them. Do you realize that men with sports cars attract women because behavioral scientists believe that you can only invest in unnecessary objects if you are healthy and strong, after you have met your required needs?

What happens when Oliver Sacks meets Seth Godin? Cross-disciplinary research is in vogue these days, and the field of neuro-marketing perfectly fits into this space. The authors, Patrick M.Georges, Anne-Sophie Bayle-Tourtoulou and Michel Badoc, are Professors at HEC (Paris) and teach marketing. The much needed neuroscience to this mix is brought by Patrick who was the head of neurosurgery earlier. The book details many recipes for the marketing initiatives to be successful both internally (your boss and inside the organization) and externally (end customers).

The different aspects of neuromarketing are presented to us in digestible chunks across different chapters. The authors talk start with the foundational series on marketing, neuroscience, and then juxtapose neuromarketing and slowly build upon it to explain different facets of this subliminal marketing that they aptly highlight as 'talking and selling to the brain'.

When your sub-conscious is rekindled by an external stimuli to make you choose a product, would you question the ethicality of the process? The tenet of 'The brain must confuse myth and reality' to establish the product placement in the customer's memory is highly intriguing. So, do we always attach electrodes to the heads of our customers and wait for the regions of the brain to be lit up to take a call on our marketing schemes? All this talk of the rational intelligence and sensory marketing confuses whether we are helping the customer make the right decision or are we trying to help just sell our products across.

The end chapters talk on value marketing, permission, brand and interactive marketing. Value Marketing aims at surprising customers by innovative strategies and differentiated products while permission marketing is like a bait wherein the communication happens only after taking the customer’s consent and taking an active interest in their interests.

The authors have done a fabulous job of detailing many neuromarketing recipes but the lack of story-telling is visible. The examples spread only across a few lines in some of the scenarios do not bring the much needed depth to the subject at hand and gives a text-book feel to the treatise. Nevertheless, the book is an occupying reading into this fascinating subject to be followed-up by more intriguing research on buying behaviours, decision sciences and neurobranding.

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