Customer Service and The World Wide Web

As technological advances may on the Internet and throughout Corporate America, I am learning that organizations are less and less likely to provide satisfactory Customer Service. The higher an organization is in the world of technology, the more likely they are to provide little or no satisfactory Customer Service.

My associates and I have been in the process of bringing our bricks and mortar company on line for the past several months. Throughout this process, we have found it almost impossible to get to what we have been promised.

In November 2016, we began the long process of building and developing a site that was presentable to the public, in which all the hyperlinks worked, that was easy to read, easy to use, and pretty. The first Web developer and hosting service we contracted to, promised that – for $500 – he would build us
an 18-page Web site. He promised it would be state of the art, exciting, easy-to-use, and attention-getting. Included in the cost of the site was the setup of our site on his server, the transfer of our domain, the setup of our shopping cart, the setup of our credit card gateway, and three revisions.

Being new to the world of Web Development, we had little experience on which to base our choices of what developers and Web Hosting Services were available. We attempted to utilize local talent and services to achieve our goals. Little did we know, $500 is hardly enough to have one page built and setup on a server, let alone 18 pages.

We were promised our site would be completed and live within two weeks. Taking into consideration our inexperience, and naivety, we counted on our developer to be knowledgeable, creative, technologically competent, and honest. As it turns out, none of these things were true.

The first version of our site that was shown to us contained many typographical errors, hyperlink errors, positioning problems, and only five pages. Our developer took notes, recorded them in his palm pilot, and left stating that he would return in one week with the completed product. He gave us
a Web address where we could view our site. Throughout the next six weeks we reeived numerous excuses, our phone calls were left unreturned, our e-mail went unanswered, and our final product was not delivered until the middle of February 2017.

Earn More Money by Learning: Business Programs, Self-help Books, Management Seminars and Courses

The difference between a successful business owner and an average one comes down to one essential factor: education. Be it business programs or self-help books, an effective entrepreneur never stops learning. He knows he has to build a broad base of skills and update knowledge in a competitive business world.

It takes courage, enthusiasm, determination, self-control, as well as other personal attributes to be an Olympic gold medal winner or become a professional athlete. The same holds true for an entrepreneur.

Keeping Up with New Business Direction

Gone are the days of merely putting up with the popular short quote: “business as usual.” Changes and new technology are inevitable, and any business owner who wants to succeed needs to keep up with the times, learn how to embrace new tools and processes. A steady flow of innovative ideas, knowledge and resources come with the changing times.

For instance, a small business owner, Mr. Parks, attends a business program or a business marketing course to help improve his opportunities in the market. Serious to learn more as a stepping stone for his business, he learned much as he completed the course. It taught him how to organise his business, and overall, he learned the elements of how to become a successful manager. Simply, the business education he undertook greatly helped him me understand what it takes to be an entrepreneur and exactly what he needs to do to make sure he has the edge over my competition, which quantifies to better business, more income.

Global Economy and Business Changes

The road is littered with the remains of dead businesses and private companies. Some of the “brightest lights” of the Fortune 500 companies of 30 years ago are not even in business anymore. 80% of small businesses fail in their first two years. Considering Pareto Law, if taking 80% of the remaining 20% who survived fail in the next two or three years, it is a staggering statistic.

 

These are harder times for global economy. Every business person feels the crunch offline or online. Many small businesses continue to shake apart and are under extreme stress. This is due to many environmental factors.

Business Education Programs

It becomes even more difficult for a business owner to deal with an economic crisis if he also lacks the skills and knowledge to effectively manage his business. An important adage often used by Internet marketers is: “Earn more, learn more.” It is true! Even big corporations invest in business management programs to educate their employees and keep up with the changing times. Why? The reason is to boost company earnings.

Continuous professional development boosts potential earnings or income growth. Among other aspects, business can be leveraged in terms of knowledge, skills and learning capacity. One thing is certain: successful business owners don’t sit back after business management trainings or seminars. They apply ideas learned! They know that to get ahead, they must educate themselves in all aspects of the business.

Find the Cash to Open a Business: Think Creatively; You May Have More Resources Than You Think

Asking friends and relatives? There may potential investors within your immediate circle. Yet, we usually overlook them when it comes to finding money to start a business. Yes, without care and communications, borrowing from friends and relatives might ruin the relationship. To avoid this, seek a partner (even if he/she is a silent one) instead of an investor. Clearly define the roles and what areas your partner will have input in. That prevents the headache of having an investor who offers unwanted input.

The main reference point in either case should be a good legal document that clearly spells out who is investing what, under what terms and expectations for repayment, as well as who has say in various business decisions. Clearly set the terms of the loan and state when and how you are going to pay it back. Having a legal document instead of oral promises will help to keep the professional relationship separate from the personal bond. And it will make sure that you both understand what you’re getting into.

Taking loans from credit cards? If you have good credit rating and have been using the credit card for a while, you might think about using the credit card as a source for your finance while starting a franchise. It’s unlikely that you have access to the kind of credit lines that will allow you to fund your entire franchise start-up, but you may be able to buy initial stock or supplies. But, remember you’ll have to make minimum payments, often before you get cash flowing into the business. So use extra caution here and make sure you have the ability to pay at least the minimum payment before you get funds coming in. Some credit cards offer special incentives and assistance for small businesses, so check into those too.

Using your IRA or 401(k) plans? You can borrow against these to purchase a franchise. It’s a complicated process and you must use caution to make sure you don’t incur tax penalties. Consult a professional like Guidant Financial which specializes in unlocking your nest egg.

Borrowing with a Small Business Administration-backed loan? These can be easier to get when purchasing a franchise than when starting up a stand-alone business. Many franchises are already pre-approved and some can even help you with the paperwork.

Regardless of which of these might help you get into a business, the point remains: with a little work and consideration, you might find you have the money to get started in owning your own franchise business.

Should Wall Street Pay for Their Own Bailout: A Much Larger than Expected Taxpayer Burden may be Required

Those who are looking for what is going to come next after the massive U.S. bailout of AIG, the 18th largest company in the world (according to the 2016 Forbes Global 2016 list), in addition to the U.S. Treasury Department committing $700 billion dollars of taxpayer money?

The concern of a complete meltdown of the U.S. economy is very real despite a whole host of other financial initiatives being implemented in a bid to stave off utter catastrophe for several formerly iconic U.S. corporations and potentially, the American economy itself.

There is also the quasi-nationalization of nine of the largest U.S. banking institutions, and the pending $25 billion dollar (or more) bailout of the U.S. automobile industry and huge drops in the employment ranks in this country.

Good Questions Are Plentiful, Good Answers Seem Scarce

Unfortunately things like the world-wide economic downturn, along with losses in many 401(k) investments, even bigger potential losses in the stock market, and people wondering if things will continue to get better than they have been over the past year. And, because of the globalized nature of today’s markets we are more interconnected than ever before.

Due to the leadership position and the dominate nature of the American financial system within the larger global financial structure what has effected the U.S., has like a virus, infected financial markets all over the globe. In essence throwing the American, Asian and European markets into a massive downturn. The question now, is what is next?

 

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit

Towards the end of last year, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), ended with the current global financial crisis dominating the agenda. For the past twelve years the ASEM meeting has been the primary multilateral channel for communication between major economic powers in this region of the world.

And this year by admitting countries like India, Pakistan, and Mongolia the organization has solidified its growing influence and place in the world primarily through the securing of forty-five (45) partner nations representing nearly 60% of the world’s population.

India’ s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, one of ASEM’s newest members, and head of one the most populist nations on earth, has been pushing for more involvement from the IMF and World Bank when he recently commented in a video made available by the conference that, “IMF and World Bank should put in place facilities to provide additional assistance more quickly and large amounts with less service conditions and greater flexibility to developing countries.”

Failure of Regulatory and Supervisory Mechanisms Lead to Crisis

In an Interview with Fox Business a leading expert in economics, Dr. Sadananda Halageri says that the root cause of the financial crisis is basically due to, “the accelerated momentum of the horizontal capital mobility that has been enabled due to the increasingly sophisticated financial instruments for investment.”

“These new instruments were obviously complicated and far away removed from the real economic activity upon which any financial instrument has to be designed and circulated in the global financial markets, Halageri said.

Dr. Halageri went on to say, “The role played by the rating agencies in enhancing the marketability and horizontal mobility of such instruments, in hindsight, has come to be regarded as dubious and the the developments which have violently shook the very core of the international financial structure were obviously beyond the scope of any present-day domestic or international regulatory body.”

The U.S. Congress, Justice Department and FBI are Investigating

According to a recent CNN news report, The FBI is investigating Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers and AIG-as well as their executives- as a broad look into possible massive mortgage fraud.

Appearing on CNN Money, a spokesman for the FBI said that at this point officials are not pursuing any specific individuals at these firms. Again, this is going to be a long road , don’t expect indictments tomorrow or next week or even next month, cautioned FBI spokesman Special Agent Richard Kolko.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn), has been having hearings related to these matters and has called the bailout plan a “fundamental shift in the way we do business,” his colleague Republican Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky commented, “the free market for all intents and purposes is dead in America.”

Plan has Made Profits Private and Losses Public

In Macroeconomics 101 in any college or university in the country, they would teach that a fundamental principle of the free market system is that investors take big risks to reap even bigger rewards, but that they also must assume any losses if they should occur.

The Treasury Departments plan has changed all of that, and there are lingering questions concerning the valuation of the toxic assets, the governments decision to take on equity shares of the countries nine largest banks and enacting limits on executive pay.

And Ralph Nader, a life-long consumer advocate and former third party candidate for president, in a recent interview on CNN called for “an expanded role for the criminal prosecution of crooks and those swindlers who made off with trillions of dollars from worker’s pensions and pension funds and enriched themselves by jumping ship into a golden parachute or lifeboat.”

Nader went on to say, “Make the speculators pay for their own bailout, by taxing securities transactions one-tenth-of -one-percent, which could produce $US500 billion dollars in this year alone.”

So Far Bailout Money has not Been Used To Help U.S. Homeowners

While still in the tentative planning stages a proposal by the Bush Administration to help up to 3 million homeowners who are behind on their mortgages potentially staying in their homes is problematic and could end up costing many more billions than originally predicted.

An October 2016 article on the U.S. bailout proposals appearing in the on-line publication Seeking Alpha, William Patalon III commented that, “As proposed, the federal government would incur half the loss on a home loan if the mortgage company that controls the loan agrees to lower the borrower’s monthly payment for at least five years. On any given loan, the mortgage company would reduce the payment borne by the homeowner by writing off part of the loan balance, reducing the loan’s interest rate or changing other loan terms.”

In addition, Money Morning contributing editor R. Shah Gilani, a retired hedge-fund manager, noted that the plan was apparently still that-a plan. In addition, “any bailout plan that directly addresses foreclosures is political posturing that will ultimately be overwhelmed by inevitable economic realities, Gilani said.

Still to be determined are extremely important items of the program like, who would be eligible and for how much of $50-$60 billion in bailout programs. Also what happens if U.S. home prices continue to fall? It may all be just too much to ask.

Shareholder Agreements in a Business Partnership: The One Major Thing Required for Having Partners in Business

Sometimes when one first gets into business there are advantages to having the business in conjunction with other people, or just one other person. This is called a business partnership, even though it can take different legal forms in business.

 

 

Partners or Partnership?

Entering into a new business with other people isn’t necessarily a “partnership” in the legal sense. A partnership is like a sole proprietorship for multiple people. Partners are all of the people involved in a business ownership and control. When entering such a relationship your finances and livelihood can rely on the abilities and whims of others. Therefore it is imperative that you protect yourself. It really doesn’t matter whether you are in a partnership or have corporate business partners; either way there are certain steps you must take to protect all parties. Expectations can change and stress always brings out the worst in everyone. Make sure you have the basics covered for everyone

Have a Shareholder Agreement

Of course you must have a shareholder agreement. It is okay to draw up the initial version on your own, or even use a kit (some of these are available through places like Office Depot, Staples, and some registries offices). The quality of these kits varies, so be cautious. There are certain things that are absolutes that you must include, regardless of anything else. Such items help to clarify expectations and roles for all involved.

  • Include amounts that partners must contribute to the business, whether in dollars or in expertise and time. These should be clearly spelled out so there are no confusions at any point now or in the future.
  • Include remuneration, if any, each partner is to get, and when.
  • Include contingencies if anything were to happen with any of the partners. People do get into accidents, die, or simply walk away. Whether we like it or not, it is part of life.
  • Include contingencies for if the business needs money and how each partner is going to contribute or how the money will be raised. Make sure you specify each partner’s role in this process.
  • Include management roles and clearly outline these.
  • Include any contingencies if the points of the agreement are not being met.
  • Include a clause for if the company is to dissolve and what happens and who plays what role. And include who gets what and who is responsible for what – there could be liabilties, and there could be assets.
  • Include some contingency clause for when a partner does not meet his obligations. It might be a good idea to have within this a dismissal clause to buy out or “fire” the partner, depending on contributions made.
  • And always include a contingency for when a partner wants to leave, and what his options are to leave the business.

If there are any concerns you or your partner(s) have, make sure to include them, no matter how trivial they may seem. This can save a lot of headache and heartache down the road.

Get the Agreement Reviewed

Once you have your initial agreement drawn up have it reviewed by legal counsel. While this isn’t 100% necessary in all instances, it is well worth the added expense. Better a little of money put out now than a whole lot later, because you missed something in your business partnership agreement!

Good Luck!

Help Make Money: Write a Direct Sales Business Plan!

A good business plan will be written down, most often on a spreadsheet, so you can analyze the numbers. Take the time to go through each step carefully.

First Look at the Product

Successful direct sales companies usually have a creative product or service. There should be a compelling reason that this product is being sold from home. Tupperware turned to direct sales because housewives in the 40’s did not know how to use a plastic container to store food and they needed to be taught!

 

Mary Kay distributors are successful because they come to your home and make you beautiful.

Here are a few good questions to ask:

  • What is the true quality and price point of the product?
  • How does it compare to the competition?
  • What warranties and guarantees will you be expected to honor, and what is the return and failure rate?
  • If the product is a service, does it really serve? Do you do the fulfillment work, or someone else? Is the system reliable!
  • What does this product actually do? Does it live up to its hype?

And finally: are you excited about the possibilities of the product itself! Will this improve your life and the life of your customers? Will you be able to sell it honestly?

Competitive Analysis

Next analyze the competition. If you walk on down to a local store, what do you find there that competes? Compare quality. If it is a service, how do you stack up?

 

When looking at a direct sales company part of the appeal is always the money making potential. This sets up a very strange dynamic for any home sales business because your competition is also every other direct sales company going around the neighborhood. Take some time and compare your product and plan against the others.

The Team Analysis

This area of the direct sales business plan compares to the Executive Summary of a traditional business plan and forces you to look closely at the team who has presented the plan to you. Who is going to help you make money? Do you trust them? How many team members did you get to meet during the presentation? Did you enjoy the way they presented the plan?

This is also the place to analyze the company leadership. Who are they? Do they have the skills to stay in business? What are the ethics of the company itself?

Show Me the Money

The best product in the world is not going to help you make money unless it is accompanied by a good compensation plan. This is the point where the rubber meets the road. Sit down with the people presenting the plan and draw out the money until it makes sense. Ask about all the hidden details such as how much product you are required to buy monthly. Do requirements grow over time?

You could very well be shown things that seem completely obscure until you put them down on a spreadsheet. Many direct sales plans have different compensation rates coming from different levels below you. How many people are you going to have to talk to in order to fill up all those levels? What happens if you have a few bad months?

If financial freedom is being dangled in front of you it should show clearly in the numbers. You should be able to clearly see where income is generated, and how it grows over time.

What is the Training?

All good direct sales companies have training, and it costs money to receive it. There should be DVDs, CDs, training meetings and conventions. You will not succeed without the training. In fact, very often the training itself is the most valuable benefit from joining the company. If you participate avidly you will meet some of the best people in your life, and should find yourself in the company of some life changing folks. Add these numbers into your plan.

And Finally, Make Your Decision

All the information you need to make your decision should be available to you in a fairly short period of time. The best direct sales companies are able to make a compelling, honest, and useful presentation in 45 to 90 minutes. If the program is so complicated that it takes more time than that, it will end up taking you too much time to sell!

During the presentation, listen carefully and respectfully. Take notes, and ask good questions. Then go home and do your research. Don’t waste your internet time in searching for scams. Instead go to the competition and research their plans. Read through the company’s own website. Research your new company through the Direct Sales Association.

Write up the numbers yourself. Work through every part of the business plan by actually writing it down:

  1. The Executive Summary (Team analysis)
  2. The Product
  3. The Competition
  4. Projected Income
  5. Training
  6. The Marketing Plan (The presentation)

And then decide. You should be able to make a clear decision by the next day. Don’t string it out. If you don’t like the look of it, aren’t excited by the product, don’t really like the people: say no. If it seems clear, and the numbers look good, give it a try.

Help Make Money By Continuing The Plan

Finally, here is the most important part of a business plan. It is not a one time shot. Hopefully your initial plan is in writing. Keep it and come back to compare occasionally. Continually rewrite the plan.

If you keep your plan always up to date then you will know if you are making your goals. After you have some experiences add a final section to your plan: The Exit Strategy. Remember that doing direct sales should be an asset to your life. Sometimes keeping the experience positive is in knowing when to get out. Sometimes the key to a positive experience is rewriting your expectation of success. Sometimes a positive experience comes from making more money than you ever imagined.

Either way, a written plan will help you get there.

Creating a Corporate Giving Policy: Determining Priorities for Financial & Product Donations

Many deserving causes and organizations operate within society. How can a company decide which ones to support? A corporate giving policy is a set of guidelines determined by a company to detail its financial and product contributions. Corporate giving can take the form of financial donations, product or service donations or physical assistance in the form of corporate volunteering.

Reviewing Previous Charitable Contributions

An early step in determining which organizations a company should support involves reviewing any previous charitable contributions. Has the company given:

  • only in times of disaster such as the Asian tsunami of 2012 or have charitable contributions been a regular occurrence;
  • to specific causes such as a disease or educational bursary;
  • to local initiatives or supported a broader charitable initiative such as the Red Cross or Oxfam.

Potential Benefits for Companies Undertaking Corporate Giving

Another issue for any company determining a corporate giving policy is to decide on the outcomes for the policy. Does the company want to raise its profile among potential customers, support the volunteer work of its employees, provide assistance to community the company is based in or simply donate for its own rewards?

For example, Company A may determine that it wants to use its corporate giving to attract new customers for its eco-friendly building materials. Company A may choose to provide charitable contributions of product or cash to an environmental charity that promotes sustainable housing. Thus Company A receives an opportunity to become known to the supporters of the environmental charity who may then use Company A’s material in their next building project.

Forms of Charitable Contributions in Corporate Giving

Corporate giving can take many forms however the most common forms of company charitable contributions include:

 

  • financial contributions;
  • product or service donations;
  • employee volunteering hours; and
  • workplace giving/donation matching schemes.

Each form of corporate giving has its own advantages and disadvantages and companies may chose to focus only on one form of corporate giving or utilize a combination of some or all forms of corporate giving.

Writing a Corporate Giving Policy

The corporate giving policy should identify the aims of the policy and then detail the procedures that a community organisation and employees need to follow when determining if a donation is possible. A list of preferred organizations or a more broad listing of preferred causes may also be included in the corporate giving policy.

Other important considerations for writing a corporate giving policy include identifying the total level of support any single organisation can receive in a calendar or financial year and if there are any forms of request that the company will not support, for example a company may choose not to provide funds for ongoing running costs of an organisation.

A corporate giving policy details the decisions made about the forms of charitable contributions a company is prepared to make. It provides guidelines to community organizations and employees about the form of donations: cash, product or services or volunteer hours and the types of organizations and causes the company is prepared to support. A corporate giving policy should be reviewed on a regular basis.

Growth Spurts Of The Disorderly Kind

Okay, so your business is doing fairly well. You put in 110 hours a week and fall into bed exhausted every night. Just a couple of months ago, you were strugging to pay the rent on your office and didn’t know where you were going to come up with the funds to make the house payment.

 

Last month your steady clients increased from 7 to 29 and you are having trouble keeping up. Just yesterday you accepted a long-term contract from one of the biggest companies in town, to do their data processing and it is a $2500 a month job for the next 2 years. They even signed and exclusivity contract to ensure you would be the only one to get their business.

Now, the question is, “How are you going to complete the work when you are already in over your head.” You’re not ready to take on a full-time employee and you don’t have the documents in place to make that happen. You have been working alone, out of a small, one-person office for the past six months and even though you have been putting in hundreds of hours to keep up with the workload, you can’t depend it yet. So what are you goin to do?

Here are a couple of suggestions.

Sign up with your local colleges and vocational schools to offer an intership program to 3-4 students. Internship programs offer students an opportunity to utilize their growing skills and gain experience in an actual business setting, performing the tasks they will do when they graduate. You get the advantage of an employee with the most up to date skills. They get a bullet for their resume. And – best of all – it’s free. All you have to provide is a place for them to work and something for them to do.

Contact your local Department of Human Services. All states and counties now have to offer some type of training program to welfare recipients to get them off the roles. You give someone a chance to earn precious job skills. In return, you receive the most basic office support. Generally, these positions will offer a person an opportunity to prove they can do the job, show up on time, and give them a character reference for future job hunting. You sign up for a six-month internship program and you have solved you troubles for at least half a year. Then you get a new person, or you hire the one who has been working for you and get reimbursed a portion of the wages you pay for the next 6-12 months.

Selling Used Books Online for Extra Cash

Register with an Online Retailer

Websites such as Amazon.com, Alibris.com, and Abebooks.com allow users to sell books online, subtracting a small percentage when they process payments. These websites have a large, existing audience of individuals wishing to purchase inventory for their own book collections, as well as university libraries and large corporations wishing to add to their holdings. Compare each online retailer’s terms and conditions to determine what would work best for the volume and variety of books that are to be sold.

Continually Purchase New Stock

As with any business, a best practice is to buy low and sell high. Inexpensive books can be found in a variety of places, bu they can be most commonly purchased at library book sales, universities wishing to unload unused inventory and thrift stores. Books can also be purchased at used book stores and discount retailers, but since these retailers frequently check the going value of their stock the margins on these books will be much slimmer.

Estate sales and garage sales are also great places to purchase books, especially when an entire personal library can be purchased at once. Since most people are just looking to get rid of the items (rather than making a substantial profit) a reasonably low bid can be offered and negotiated from there.

Become Niche-Friendly

While contemporary fiction is popular, it is also produced en masse and therefore not very valuable for resale. Books that are popular with a set niche of individuals, such as medical texts from reputable publishers, are published in very limited quantities and can command a much higher price at resale. Booksellers specializing in very particular fields can develop a dedicated following amongst collectors and base a large portion of their business to fulfilling requests from a select few.

 

Befriend Book Peers

Meeting and befriending local book vendors, librarians and other players in the local publishing industry will open up new opportunities in the form of advance notice of sales, a heads-up when a new collection arrives, or even the chance to purchase stock ahead of other customers. Volunteering at related book events is a great way to repay these book peers for any favors or assistance they may provide.

Selling Books: A Great Way to Earn Cash and Have Fun

Book lovers can find a great hobby and a way to earn some extra money by selling valuable books online. Continually updating stock and catering to niche markets will make any online bookseller a valuable commodity in the world book market.

Book Review of Martin Lindstrom’s Buyology: How Everything We Believe About Why We Buy is Wrong

Danish-born Martin Lindstrom is a global brand expert, brand futurist, and best-selling author. However, it is his groundbreaking application of neuroscience to marketing (neuromarketing) that earned him a spot on TIME magazine’s list of the World’s 100 Most Influential People of 2017. Published in 2016, Buyology is a summary of Lindstrom’s revolutionary three-year neuromarketing study (conducted 2012-7) and its implications for the future of retail and advertising.

Using Neuroscience to Understand Consumer Behavior

Lindstrom observed that traditional market research techniques, such as surveys and focus groups, were inadequate predictors of product performance. People tend to be poor reporters of their own behavior because subconscious factors “assert a powerful but hidden influence over the choices we make.” To gain insight into the mind of the average consumer, Lindstrom employed two of the most advanced brain-scanning instruments available – the fMRI and SST (steady-state typography) – to monitor and measure the brain activity of over 2,000 volunteers in response to products and advertisements.

What Neuroscience Reveals About Consumers, Brands, and Marketing

Based on the results of his studies, Lindstrom draws the following conclusions:

  • Cigarette warning labels actually encourage smoking.
  • Product placement only works if the brand has a logical and integral function in the storyline.
  • People purchase goods and services that they think will help them be more like the people they admire.
  • Subliminal advertising works, and may be more powerful than a logo.
  • Products enjoy greater brand loyalty if they are associated with a ritual or superstition.
  • People react to strong brands in the same way that they react to religious icons.
  • Advertisements that appeal to multiple senses are more effectual than those that rely on vision alone.
  • Sex and beauty don’t always sell.

Buyology Doesn’t Live Up To Its Own Hype

Unfortunately, Buyology does not convincingly prove that “everything we believe about why we buy is wrong.” Lindstrom bases his claims on the observed brain activity of his volunteers. However, the meaning of this activity was interpreted by the author and his team of researchers, who clearly favored particular outcomes. Furthermore, it is possible that certain test conditions, such as the use of well-known brands in experiments, biased the results.

 

Lindstrom relies on anecdotal rather than qualitative evidence to present his findings, and it is easy to imagine him putting a spin on his own product. This is not to say that Lindstrom’s methodology and claims are indeed flawed. But while his research certainly merits attention, without further experimentation or scholarly review, it remains inconclusive.

What Buyology Does Have To Offer

Although less shocking and definitive than Lindstrom believes it to be, Buyology does reveal much about what goes on in our subconscious minds and into our decision-making processes. The book is also filled with interesting trivia and behind-the-scenes secrets (such as how Reese’s Pieces ended up in E.T. or why people drink Corona with lime). Moreover, Lindstrom’s astute analysis of the success or failure of real products, as well as his predictions for the future of marketing are of great interest.

Thanks to Lindstrom’s creative flair and sense of humor, Buyology is much more entertaining than academic. However, his penchant for figurative language and self-promotion (the book ends with a directive to visit Lindstrom’s website) is gratuitous, distracting, and off-putting. Nevertheless, the use of neuroscience to understand and influence human behavior is likely to expand in the future. Buyology may not be the final, or best-written word on neuromarketing, but it is a worthwhile introduction for anyone fascinated with or concerned by this emerging field.