Except for Martin Lindstrom.
Okay, that sounds a little freaky. Let me rephrase that: Martin Lindstrom might not know you, but he definitely knows a lot about how you behave as a consumer and why you purchase the things that you do. The amount of information he has gathered through his research, experiments, and consultations is astounding.
Who is this guy? He is not on the list of “interesting people” originally presented in the prompt, but I intend to prove that he should be with my post for this week. Martin Lindstrom is an author, speaker, marketing guru, and “fan of the consumer”. Throughout his career, he has gained experience through independent research and consulting with major brand names. In 2009, Lindstrom made it into Time Magazine’s “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World”. Pretty impressive feat if you ask me.
During spring semester of my junior year, I decided to tie together my economics minor with an independent study credit. While I was required to do an “economics” independent study, I wanted to combine this requirement with my career interests. My final product was entitled “Understanding the Consumer” in which I compared American and Chinese consumers based on microeconomics, consumer behavior, and marketing research. The one resource that truly stuck out through my research process was Lindstrom’s Brandwashed. I became a fan of Martin Lindstrom after reading this book. Scratch that. More like after the first chapter I read in this book. Check out this video and see for yourself!
I highly recommend this book to anyone. Even if you aren’t pursuing a career in marketing, you’re still a consumer. You would be shocked at some of the things revealed throughout the chapters. Further, if you are interested in marketing, I guarantee you will not want to put this book down. Lindstrom is a very skillful writer who demonstrated the importance of balancing humor with detailed information. Brandwashed is one of the most informational and entertaining books I have read to this day. In my opinion, it is pretty hard to write a book that can be classified as both “informational” and “entertaining”—hats off to you, Mr. Lindstrom. As if I did not think he was cool and “interesting” enough, I had a few other questions on my mind for my independent study and decided to try to get in contact with him. I emailed his assistant and explained how much I enjoyed reading the book and the research paper I was working on. I was given the opportunity to ask Mr. Lindstrom any five questions for my project, and within a few weeks I had a email in my inbox from the guru himself with detailed answers to my questions. I thought it was incredibly kind of him to take the time to think about and respond to my questions. How awesome is that?? Not only does he publish interesting work, but he demonstrated that he is willing to engage in conversation with fans or students.
If we were to host Martin Lindstrom at Bucknell, I think it would be fascinating to hear him elaborate on the world of “data mining”. Billions of dollars have been poured into data mining over the years. What is data mining and why is it so important? Data mining entails the tracking and analyzing of consumer behavior; through data mining, marketers are able to determine purchasing habits, race, gender, address, phone number, education level, approximate income, family size, pet’s name, and all kinds of other stuff you wouldn’t think they could figure out. He discusses how one online coupon barcode can reveal more than one would think as well. One might think a coupon would be linked to a name, but in reality, that coupon is linked to your computer, your Facebook activity, when you downloaded and used it, which store it was used at, and where and how you found the coupon. You’re giving away more than a coupon and money when you make a purchase; you are giving away private information about yourself.
To wrap things up for this week, I want to leave you with a list of fun facts about consumer behavior, marketing, and data mining. The facts below are all quotes I pulled from Martin Lindstrom’s Brandwashed.
BRING LINDSTROM TO SPEAK AT BUCKNELL!
10 Fun Facts
- While it may look fresh, the average apple you see in the supermarket is actually fourteen months old.
- The reason [fattening food] products are so addictive is because the companies that sell them deliberately spike their recipes to include addictive quantities of habit-forming substances like MSG, caffeine, corn syrup, and sugar.
- It’s long been accepted that when a typical women chooses a product, 80% of the reason is emotional and only 20% is rational; for men, […] this ratio is reversed that 20% of a man’s decision is emotional and 80% rational.
- Best-seller labels make us think these titles have been “preapproved”; it makes us imply that if we don’t read what everyone else is reading, we’ll be uncultured, irrelevant, and excluded from the national conversation.
- 99% of the time we derive the most pleasure from our first experience of something.
- […] Our “window of openness” for new experiences, like getting our tongue pierced, slams shut at age 23 and our openness to trying out new foods pretty much closes for good at 39.
- A royal family typically has a marketing plan for the next 75 years.
- Mattel estimates that two Barbie dolls are sold somewhere in the world every second of every day, with total sales around 1.5 billion dollars annually.
- […] Students, with their meager incomes, irresponsible spending habits, and high credit limits are cash cows for these banks.
- Based on marketers’ data, consumers who try a new product are likely to stick with it for an average of a year and a half.