Dealer Outlook

Trade Only Dealer Outlook Blog

‘Buyology’ looks inside buyers’ heads

Seems we can look into about every other part of a human, so why not into a buyers’ head? Apparently we can, reported Seth Brown in a special to USA Today recently. Brown (www.Rising was talking about marketing expert Martin Lindstrom’s new book, “Buyology.”

While I’m not sure his findings reveal anything revolutionary, or even new, they do seem to ratify suspicions about advertising, particularly TV commercials, and it makes for interesting reading.

Lindstrom teamed up with a lab in England where a neuroscientist scanned the brainwaves of subjects watching commercials. Lindstrom claimed it represented the first unbiased access to the consumer brain. (Well, maybe.) A weakness of standard marketing research, Lindstrom claims, is that people will not, or cannot, provide accurate information about their mental states. For example, when asked why they prefer a brand of soft drink, or how a warning label affects them, most people cannot give a straight answer. This, Lindstrom says, is the great advantage of Neuroimaging, which is MRI’s of brain waves.

After running tests for three years on more than 2,000 subjects, some of his interesting conclusions are:

• Traditional advertisements no longer create lasting impressions. By age 66, most people with a TV will have seen nearly 2 million commercials. That makes it hard for an ad to increase a viewer’s memory of a brand, despite the millions of dollars spent. (Most dealers don’t use TV ads and, according to this, for good reason)
•  Warning labels on cigarettes don’t work. They stimulate activity in the part of a smoker’s brain linked to cravings. (How do we do that to boat buying prospects?)
• Subliminal advertising can be highly effective. When watching an advertisement, viewers automatically raise their guard against its message. With subliminal advertisements, viewers’ guards are down, so their responses are more direct. (Getting boats in backgrounds of movies, TV shows and news, etc. could be effective)
• But, product placement only works when fully integrated. For example, it works when Coke-bottle-shaped furniture is part of the set design on American Idol, or when Reese’s Pieces candy was used for bait in the movie E.T. However, when a product is not integrated, such as FedEx packages appearing in the background of Casino Royale, there is no measurable effect with regard to viewer recollection of brand. (That still may boost name recognition, though)
• Marketing isn’t restricted to the visual. Many use smells to sell products. Fast-food restaurants and supermarket bakeries use artificial fresh-cooked food smells. (Smell is being used by many department stores, Disney and others. (How about our showrooms?)?
• Sounds effect buying. A study showed shoppers purchased French or German wine depending on which nationality’s music was playing on store speakers. (Showrooms?)
• Sex sells itself. Viewers of sexually suggestive ads did pay attention, but more to the sex than the ad. In one study, fewer than 1-in-10 men who saw a sexually suggestive ad could recall the product, while twice as many remembered the product in non-sexually suggestive ads. (You take it from here)

When the “Discover Boating” national ad campaign cranks up again next year, perhaps some of the study results in “Buyology” will be helpful. In the mean while, they’re fun to think about.


3 comments on “‘Buyology’ looks inside buyers’ heads

  1. Waterdog

    The only one with a buying eye these days is the government.
    Hell for the money they want to throw at GM,Ford, Chrysler they could have the entire marine industry & have a lot left over.
    The ad campaign never should have been suspended.
    How about the management at NMMA take a hiatis from compensation for a year instead, or maybe they could become boat owners


    We already know people simply have a hard time reading signs, TV doesn’t work unless you have gobs of $$$ to spend in a full campaign, radio sometimes is effective, but again it has to be repetitious (and thus costly).
    Today’s boating (or any other industry) magazines are clearly nothing more than bonafide catalogs, and very pricey, except for very few of them which are somewhat effective. I can see a new tool like Neuroimaging being useful, let’s face it our industry could use all the help it can get, (it’s also true for the entire country right now, with what’s going on).
    There’s one thing I’ve seen work with interesting results, Humor! Since we already know that sex sometimes sells, but sometimes not, I’ve often wonder if humor works pretty much the same way, though at times believed it worked better.
    However there’s one thing everybody knows we all seek, and that’s FUN! The challenge is; to find the right method to accurately deliver that message and reach the largest number of people, while keeping their attention span at bay.
    One note aside I wonder which positions were done away with at the NMMA, and how effective were they to begin with?

  3. arch

    Entertaining article, but just more proof that our industry needs to stop grasping at straws to figure out what is wrong. We KNOW what is wrong. We now have to ADMIT IT (which is step 1 in getting over the hump), and figure out a game plan to adjust to it.
    It’s also very important that WE admit that we are at the mercy of the economy and consumer confidence in this business. It’s been that way and always will be. We need to stop brainwashing ourselves into thinking that WE dictate this market. WE DO NOT. WE SELL LUXURY ITEMS that people DON”T NEED. I don’t see how we can all get on the same page when we refuse to accept this reality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments Policy.