Articles

Habit: The 95% of Behavior Marketers Ignore

by Neale Martin published August 04, 2008 in Publishers Weekly Publishers_Weekly

In his first book, communications consultant-to-the-stars (Sprint, Nextel, Cisco, Nortel, TI, Motorola) and "expert in consumer behavior" Martin uses ideas from the worlds of science, technology, psychology, history, philosophy and business to demonstrate how a consumer's unconscious controls most of his or her behavior. As a result, Martin argues, companies large and small are wasting money and energy engaging the wrong part of the brain—rather than worrying over expected behavior or ultimate satisfaction, marketers should focus on how buying habits form through simple, time-tested methods like reward and repetition. How else would brands like Microsoft—infamously frustrating but ingrained in the culture—and Starbucks coffee—overpriced but ubiquitous (and literally addictive)—make it? In a reportorial style fit for both marketing executives and savvy consumers, Martin presents interviews with marketers, researchers and scientists that outline the principles supporting his method, delineating the executive mind from the habitual (unconscious) mind, exploring how an ideal product like the iPod targets both minds, and providing a blueprint for creating habitual buyers. Martin's argument requires readers to suspend some long-held beliefs about consumers, but rewards them with some eye-opening perspective.