Editor’s Choice: The 10 Best Books on Neuromarketing
Through times of critical hype and times of heightened criticism, neuromarketing has been with us since the late 1990s, and going strong. Countless strides have been made in psychiatric studies of consumer behavior since that time, especially in the realms of neuroimaging and Google Adwords, which in 2002, opened up a new world of consumer behavior studies. Coincidentally, 2002 was the same year the word “neuromarketing” made its premier. In marketing years, this means that neuromarketing is standing the test of time. For indeed, what started out as a theory of behavioral economics, a tentative branch of marketing whose research methods were commonly dismissed as pseudoscientific, has become one of the most practiced academic fields in the business discipline: a field which, instead of catching flack for supposed inaccuracy, has grown to be feared in some circles as almost too accurate. Regardless of where you fall on the issue of whether or not studying consumer brain activity is invasive, or how it is or isn’t ethical to try and understand what consumers want, or why they pay attention to certain ads over others, we would all do well, as students of marketing and users and consumers, to inform ourselves about the key ideas, methods, and thought leaders of neuromarketing as a science and an industry. Without that information, we miss a key component, not only of what it means to be a modern marketer, but of what it means to be a contemporary consumer. Because whether we know it or not—and that’s a key phrase in a discipline founded on understanding what our subconscious mind either needs or desires—current marketing developments are going to be influenced by findings made in the neuromarketing laboratory. That’s why we’ve assembled and ranked the ten best books that fall under the ever-opening umbrella of neuromarketing. To compile this ranking, we sifted through over 100 books that were “shelved as neuromarketing” on the popular reader review site, Goodreads, handpicked the 46 most accessible, and scored them according to the average number of stars that readers have given them, the total number of ratings each book has received, and their relevance to developing an understanding of the discipline. Only the highest rated, most rated, and most relevant books rose to the top of our list. See if you recognize some of the titles. If you’ve been to a bookstore in the past decade, we bet you’ll recognize at least one title that you’ve heard of, seen, or perhaps even read yourself.
1. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles DuhiggThe Power of Habit is a book of Business Psychology written by NYTimes business reporter and Harvard Business School graduate, Charles Duhigg. Duhigg’s quips on productivity have earned him a place of distinction among contemporary business writers, with his book also appealing to the broad audience of anyone interested in exchanging a bad habit for a good one, while also also holding the special interests of businessmen and businesswomen who desire a crash course in the psychology of changing consumer behavior. Published in 2012, Power of Habit does not venture into the deep end of research on current neuromarketing trends, preferring instead to visit briefly the big picture principles of neuroscience as they affect the formation of habit. Duhigg makes explicit reference to some definitive marketing case studies, such as Procter & Gamble’s study of bed-making habits that revolutionized how Febreze would market its spray product, and whose results have made a considerable impact on what marketers look for when conducting studies of the mind. Such marketers understand that the brain is a part of the body that has always been influenced by habit, rather than the other way around, and that if we can market our products to either fit or change a habit, then we need not worry so much about what a consumer thinks about their novelty. As Duhigg says, “[w]hether selling a new song, a new food, or a new crib, the lesson is the same: If you dress a new something in old habits, it’s easier for the public to accept it.” A must-read for everyone new and old to neuromarketing, as well as anyone trying to kick a bad habit and start a good one. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
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