Book Review: Neuromarketing For Dummies by Stephen Genco, Andrew Pohlmann and Peter Steidl
Here’s another sign that neuromarketing is becoming a mainstream topic: it now has its own “Dummies” book. But, don’t let the title fool you – Neuromarketing for Dummies is a serious effort and a comprehensive guide to this emerging technology.
Genco and his co-authors cover all aspects of neuromarketing, starting with the science of how we think and make decisions. While you can skip the underlying theory and still get a lot out of the book, most marketers will find topics like Kahneman’s System 1 & 2, priming, cognitive fluency, and many more presented in a very comprehensible way.
One of the aspects of Neuromarketing for Dummies that I find particularly appealing, not to mention highly useful for practical marketers, is that the authors use a broad definition of the field. Rather than limiting discussion to, say, brain scan and brain wave measurement techniques as some purists insist we should, they cover every technique from eye-tracking to response timing. In addition, they discuss behavior research – an eminently sensible approach, since the various technical tools don’t exist in a vacuum. Ultimately, marketers are trying to predict and/or alter customer behavior, and this book puts neuromarketing tools in that broader context.
The authors achieve a fine balance. The book is fundamentally positive about the potential of neuromarketing, but it avoids hype and over-enthusiasm. Rather, it stays grounded in science. At the same time, there is no alarmism, and ethical issues are addressed calmly and rationally.
Beyond the detailed explanations of various neuromarketing techniques and how they can be applied, Genco and his co-authors devote a couple of chapters to the process of defining the objectives of a neuromarketing study and choosing a partner to assist with the work.
Perhaps my favorite chapter is Neuromarketing on a Budget: Inexpensive Ways to Learn from Your Customers. In it, smaller businesses (not to mention non-profits) can learn to use tools like response-time studies and conduct their own behavioral experiments. Not every marketing question can justify a full-blown neuromarketing study, and the authors show that there are alternatives.
If there’s a flaw in this book, it’s one shared with every other Dummies book: no footnotes or endnotes. I’m a compulsive digger, so I miss those resources. But, there’s good news – according to lead author Stephen Genco, a list of references is being compiled and will be available online in the future.
Neuromarketing for Dummies is the best and most comprehensive book about brain-based marketing to date, and deserves a spot on every marketers bookshelf. (At 408 pages, it’s likely the biggest book about neuromarketing, too!) Like other Dummies books, this one avoids arcane jargon and emphasizes practical knowledge. Marketers from both large and small companies will find actionable concepts in the book.
Neuromarketing for Dummies is due to ship in just a few days, but available for pre-ordering now.