Book review: Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy by Martin Lindstrom. This isn’t a book about marketing; well, it is, but it’s not your typical marketing book. It’s actually a very well written synopsis of what some new psychological research studies are telling us about our buying habits. I stumbled upon this book while searching for books on marketing. I own a business, and I’d obviously like to expand, so I’ve been researching what marketing practices work and which ones don’t. I was in a for a surprise about people’s buying habits.
Buyalogy is probably the most appropriate title for this book – at least coming from a research scientists point of view. It attempts to answer why people buy the products they do – and impressively, is based on quite a few very real and well done (read also expensive) studies.
Psychologists are learning important things about our buying habits, our reactions to ads, and brand names. While I don’t drink Coke or Pepsi (and you shouldn’t either), it was fascinating to learn why some people prefer Coke over Pepsi even though taste studies have shown that people find that Pepsi tastes better. It was even more fascinating to learn the opposite effects that warning labels have on cigarette boxes. And it was quite discouraging to learn how manufacturers take this information and use it to manipulate us, the buyers.
This book is not some boring scientific article, but instead, a very well written and organized book based around the results of these studies. The author discusses what prompted the studies, how each study was conducted, what type of people were used, and all the other information you need to know to accept that this isn’t made up junk science. The author takes these studies, and offers very compelling interpretations of why the results are the way they are (regarding human psychology), and why certain big brand names make it big, and how they keep their customers loyal.
Unfortunately, this book will not help me sell products made by Nature’s Complement. Why? Simple, I refuse to stoop so low. I don’t want people buying Nature’s Complement products because they’ve been manipulated into it, which is what many of these large companies do. Nor do I want people to buy Nature’s Complement products because it turns into a “religious” ritual, or a catchy phrase got them, or because I hit a warm and gushy spot in someone’s mind that makes them want the products. No.
I want people to buy Nature’s Complement products because they know that products made by Nature’s Complement are made with consumer safety as our priority, not just money. I want people to buy our products because they trust the brand for rational reasons not because I tricked them into it emotionally. I want people to buy our products because they read the ingredients, and they know after reading the ingredients that there’s nothing in these products that can cause harm. Thus consumers choose Nature’s Complement over other brands that do use cheap harmful ingredients for the sole purpose of making an extra buck. In other words, there is a moral component to operating my business, and the advice in this book crosses that line.
Despite the fact that this marketing book was not useful to my business, it was very informative about why people buy, and as mentioned earlier, I learned a lot about myself as well. I find myself catching sly advertising that I wouldn’t have noticed before I read the book. So another way to look at this book (and why I recommend it), is we can use what we learn from it as a defensive tool against being manipulated by such marketing tricks. This book helps people to raise their level of awareness about such manipulation, and become more conscious consumers.
I think this is an important read for everyone, it really offers a view through the window of our buying habits. It also explains many of our reactions to advertising that we may not have been aware of, and make us so. I think if everyone on earth understood the concepts taught in this book, this type of advertising wouldn’t work as well as it does, and people might actually buy quality over misinformation.
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