Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy, reviewed

Kirstie Affleck reviews Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy, Second Edition by Phil Barden, published by Wiley. See more about the book here.

This book successfully brings together data from neuroscience and behavioural economics, cognitive and social psychology to show why people choose to buy what they buy. It aims to demonstrate how to use empirical measurements to build brands and drive revenue. It covers a range of marketing media including print advertising, digital and TV.

Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy, reviewed

The book shows how scientific data can be used in order to take a logical evidence based approach to marketing a product or service. This book gives scientific backed explanations and real life case studies on how a brand can become a leading market player in a competitive marketplace. It also points out where brands got it wrong. It explains how consumers have implicit and explicit goals and the reasons for why these exist, and offers up the technique of using a product or service to be ‘hired’ to fulfil the end goal.

How setting an anchor price and adding a discount or premium priced product can affect consumer behaviour is also covered, and how framing a product increases its relevancy. The book includes useful pictures and charts to make the points easily viewable.

The layout is written as if for academic study with handy chapter summaries and additional reading suggestions. The chapters on seller interfaces, and product positioning I found especially interesting. A chapter on Covid -19 brings the book up-to-date and explores how the psychological impact of the pandemic altered consumer motivation and how some companies adapted to this.

Phil Barden is the Managing Director of DECODE Marketing Ltd. Having switched from a 25+ years career from Brand Development at Unilever, Diageo, and T-Mobile, he moved into the field of decision science.

DECODE is a consultancy founded, and staffed by former scientists from the fields of decision science. They collaborate with leading universities for neuro-economics such as California Institute of Technology and consultants still practice in academe.
I would recommend this book to all marketing students, SME business owners, and to anyone seeking to understand the individual and collective behaviour of people. As a small business owner I found this book well worth a read and will take forward some of what I have learnt as I grow my brand.

More about the book

A groundbreaking exploration of purchasing behaviour and its essential role in smarter marketing practices to benefit your organization

If you understand why people buy, you are already one step ahead in reaching out to them effectively with your products and services. Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy offers a groundbreaking exploration into the science of purchasing. The book specifically demonstrates why decision science has proven invaluable to the field of marketing by helping to explain purchasing behaviours.

Decoded delivers a practical framework and guidelines for applying science to the marketing practices you use every day. As a marketing professional, you can look to this book for behavioural knowledge, timely case studies, and an understanding of methodologies. You’ll gain advice on how to employ knowledge about behaviours for more effective brand management, from strategy to implementation to new product development.

You’ll also gain useful insight into the latest research on consumer motivations that lead to purchasing decisions. Learn more about what happens in the human brain as buyers make their choices. This updated edition of Decoded provides new material that marketers can apply to informed, successful practices.

Gain an understanding of the Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) approach
Take a closer look at the Ferrero neuroscience study that supports JTBD
See updated and relevant case studies of JTBD at work
Discover how to engage customers through digital touchpoints

If you’re a marketing practitioner, an understanding of decision science will enhance your day-to-day work. Decoded helps you see how science and marketing come together. Immerse yourself in the science of why people buy and gain a stronger base of knowledge as you develop strategies, implement marketing plans, and meet customer needs through innovation.

More about the reviewer

Kirstie Affleck is a Sheep farmer, based in West Cork, Ireland. Passionate about wool crafts including spinning and knitting. Selling handcrafted products locally. BSc Biological and Medical Chemistry, Exeter, UK.  Instagram: @capeclearsheep Twitter: @CapeClearSheep. See her website here.

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