John Wanamaker opened his first department store in Philadelphia in 1861. Wanamaker’s became an institution at the hand of this skilled entrepreneur who turned a small men’s clothing store into a retail empire. As skilled as he was, however, Wanamaker struggled with one of the same challenges all entrepreneurs face even today. He is famous for saying, “Half my advertising budget is wasted. Trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
Put another way, how do we know what part of our marketing strategy causes a customer to engage, to make a purchase, to act?
In a fascinating new book about consumer behavior, “buy-ology: Truth and Lies about Why We Buy,” author Martin Lindstrom grapples with this and other questions surrounding what influences our buying decisions in a message-cluttered world. The book reflects on a massive, three-year, $7 million neuro marketing study that engaged 2,000 volunteers in reacting to a wide range of marketing scenarios and samples to attempt to determine what truly motivates our buying behavior. The results were surprising and, in some cases, rather unnerving.
For instance, can you name the three main sponsors of “American Idol?” (If you can’t, Ford, AT&T and Coca-Cola may start to think they are wasting the nearly $26 million they each spend annually to have their names associated with one of the most popular television shows in history.) What makes these sponsors so memorable is not their 30-second ads during the show; it’s their product integration into the show. The judges drink from cups featuring Coke logos. Ryan Seacrest reminds us to vote using our AT&T cell phone. The contestants make music videos featuring the latest model Ford. In the age of TiVo when we can view programs and skip the advertisements, integration of a product into the programming itself is becoming more and more common. (more…)