Book Review: Neuromarketing – Selling to the Old Brain for Instant Success

We’ve had this site up for too long without reviewing the one English-language book with Neuromarketing in its title: Neuromarketing – Selling to the Old Brain for Instant Success by Patrick Renvoise and Christophe Morin. The book also features a provocative backup subtitle on its front cover, Is there a ‘Buy Button’ Inside the Brain?

Your expectations for this book will determine how useful you find it. If you are expecting a book chock-full of fMRI scans, detailed brain maps, and lots of research citations showing how human brains react to marketing efforts, this isn’t the book you are looking for. The premise of Neuromarketing is that the so-called OLD BRAIN (rather annoyingly printed in caps every time it’s used in the book) makes the important decisions, and that marketing efforts need to appeal to its limited but specific methods for handling information. There’s not a lot of research-based evidence presented for many of the techniques described in the book, although there’s a certain logic to most of them.

Now for the good news: for the sales or marketing executive looking for an easy-to understand approach to create sales approaches, marketing materials, magazine ads, and the like, this book is on the money. The authors are clearly sales professionals, and the common sense steps they outline to analyzing needs and creating a pitch are timeless. You don’t have to buy into the brain science model at all to benefit from this book.

At less than 200 pages, this book is a quick read. It’s got plenty of illustrations, quotes from the famous and not-so-famous, and lots of white space to keep the density low and the pace brisk. The core of their recommended approach is to identify the customer’s PAIN (what issue is causing him the most discomfort – financial, personal, etc.), stating your CLAIMS (how your product or service will alleviate the pain), and demonstrating the GAIN (proving your claims with data, customer comments, etc.). It may sound a bit like one of those over-hyped sales seminars, but the detailed steps outlined will no doubt result in stronger marketing than something thrown together in an all-too-typical haphazard rush.

The authors use plenty of real-world examples (to appeal to the OLD BRAINS of their readers!) to drive home their points and to make the book more readable and relevant. In a move that I’d recommend for other business books, the publishers include a poster which serves to remind the reader of the authors’ key points even after the book is returned to the bookshelf.

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— who has written 985 posts on Neuromarketing.

Roger Dooley writes and speaks about marketing, and in particular the use of neuroscience and behavioral research to make advertising, marketing, and products better. He is the primary author at Neuromarketing, and founder of Dooley Direct LLC, a marketing consultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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1 response to "Book Review: Neuromarketing – Selling to the Old Brain for Instant Success" — Your Turn

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Adam 20. August 2008 at 10:53 pm

Hey, I was thinking of buying the new edition of this book (I don’t own the old edition that you’ve reviewed). I’m pursuing a minor in Cog Sci because i’m interested in the neuroscience of branding and decision making as well.

In the intro to the new edition (thumbed through it at the book store) the author says that the new edition was completely revised.

I was wondering if you’ve read this version, and had an opinion on the changes in the book.

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