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Wednesday, November 28 2012

What They Are Saying About Psychological Foundations of Marketing

PFM_final_cover.jpgSusan Fournier, Professor of Marketing, Boston University

The field of marketing has always drawn inspiration and character from psychology: from marketing’s inception in the science of persuasion; through the cognitive revolution that sought to unravel the complexities of decision-making, memory, and choice; to a non-conscious paradigm exposed through the hard science of neuropsychology; and into the intricate psycho-social terrain of contemporary lives enacted online. This book provides a solid foundation in the concepts, principles, and processes that determine the whys and hows of consumer behavior at its core. With Malcolm Gladwell-style reporting, Kimmel grounds us in classic and state-of-the-art psychological research that can inform and advance marketing academics and practice. If you understand that marketing success rests on a deep understanding of the customer, read this book.


Michael R. Solomon, Professor Marketing, Saint Joseph's University

If indeed we are what we buy, the field of consumer psychology plays an integral role in explaining who we are.  Allan Kimmel offers both scholars and laymen a highly readable overview of the psychological underpinnings of marketing theory and practice.  His synopsis looks backward to the fundamentals of consumer psychology, and forward to emerging areas such as neuromarketing and virtual identity.  It's a great 'one-stop shoppint' solution for readers who want to appreciate the fascinating synergies between psychology and consumption.

Mark Batey, President, Batey Consulting, Oxford UK and author of Brand Meaning

Allan Kimmel demonstrates why and how psychology and marketing are inseparable.  Amply illustrated with useful examples, this comprehensive book probes all the major themes and facets of the consumer mindset.


Now Available:



Are we influenced by ads even when we fast-forward them?

Do brands extend our personalities?

Why do we spend more when we pay with a credit card?

Psychological Foundations of Marketing considers the impact of psychology on marketing practice and research, and highlights the applied aspects of psychological research in the marketplace. This book presents an introduction to both areas, and provides a survey of the various contributions that psychology has made to the field of marketing.

Each chapter considers a key topic within psychology, outlines the main theories, and presents various practical applications of the research.

Topics covered include:

  • Motivation: The human needs at the root of many consumer behaviors and marketing decisions.
  • Perception: The nature of perceptual selection, attention and organization and how these perceptual processes relate to the evolving marketing landscape.
  • Decision making: How and under what circumstances it is possible to predict consumer choices, attitudes and persuasion?
  • Personality and lifestyle: How insight into consumer personality can be used to formulate marketing plans.
  • Social behavior: The powerful role of social influence on consumption.


Allan Kimmel, Professor of Marketing, ESCP Europe, Paris, France (email:
Author of the following additional books:
Connecting With Consumers: Marketing for New Marketplace Realities (Oxford)
Marketing Communication: New Approaches, Technologies, and Styles (Oxford)
Rumors and Rumor Control: A Manager's Guide to Understanding and Combatting Rumors (LEA/Routledge)
Ethical Issues in Behavioral Research: Basic and Applied Perspectives (Blackwell/Wiley)
Ethical Issues in Applied Social Research (Sage)
Ethics of Human Subject Research (Jossey-Bass)

Friday, August 24 2012

Psychological Foundations of Marketing: The Cover

Just before this site went down temporarily, I posted a teaser regarding the cover for my forthcoming book, Psychological Foundations of Marketing (November, 2012, Routledge/Taylor & Francis).  This was more a commentary on the sorry state of creative decision making among academic publishers than any backhanded attempt to sell books - regarding the latter, I'm not that delusional.  Without further adieu, the final choice brought us to the following cover, which both myself and my publisher are satisfied with.  The cover photo is one of my own, taken as I wandered around the famous department stores off Boulevard Haussmann following a night at the Paris opera.


I think this cover does a good job of 'reflecting' - in more ways than one - the heart of what the book is about, which is largely an effort at getting inside the heads of consumers, for better (I hope) or worse (I hope not) marketing efforts.  Here's the runner up, another one of my photos in my decades long 'windows series' - again, taken while window shopping in Paris.


Let me know what you think.

Thursday, June 7 2012

The Cover That Never Was

We've reached that stage in the production process of my forthcoming book, Psychological Foundations of Marketing, that I always enjoy - the choice of a cover.  Enjoy, yes, but not without a high level of trepidation.  Based on my past experience, I would have to say that the design teams of major publishers often leave their creativity, imagination, and flair at the door and prefer to go with the tired and true once they sit down at the drawing board.  I think I lucked out for the cover of Connecting With Consumers: Marketing for New Marketplace Realities, probably the only cover of my eight books that I actually like.  And I like it a lot.  Fortunately, my editors at Oxford University Press and I worked together to come up with a cover that we believed reflected the book's content, while maintaining a certain degree of originality in the category.

Originally, my new publishers, Routledge/Taylor & Francis came to me with a couple concepts that I quickly rejected - one theme featuring one or more shopping bags and the other showing someone sitting in front of a bank of TVs.  They struck me as unoriginal and uninformative.  One month later, despite my initial reservations, they came back to me with four cover mockups of the same two original ideas, with the intent to run with the TV banks cover you see below.

I can't quite explain why the production people at T&F fell in love with this cover.  Granted, it's not a bad looking or poorly designed cover, and I could picture it blending into - and getting lost in the process - the array of other academic and professional books on the shelf in greater bookstores throughout the land.  But I hated this cover for several reasons, perhaps mostly because it had little, if anything to do with the book's content, which, as the title suggests, delves into the psychology of consumer behavior and marketing efforts.  An anonymous figure sitting passively in front of a bank of TVs might indeed be the ideal cover for a book on mass media communications circa 1970/80s, but that is not what my book is or intends to be.  When I pointed this out, one member of the T&F team responded that the image shows someone being directly marketed to in a competitive global marketplace characterized by advertising saturation.  To which I pondered, what exactly is Fred Flintstone marketing? 

But what really irked me about this cover is that it belies one of the basic points of my previous book - and this corresponding website: that we no longer live in an age in which people are passively sitting in front of television screens, waiting to be marketed to. I was perplexed as to how anyone could believe that a cover with multiple TVs reflects anything about the contemporary world, psychology, or marketing.  So, true to the Connecting With Consumers philosophy, I suggested that I post a call for covers from enterprising designers in cyberspace and offer some sort of monetary prize for best cover idea. 

Well, given their rush to deadline, T&F nixed the crowdsourcing idea, but I nonetheless am happy to report that they did give me 24 hours to come up with a better idea - actually, three ideas - drawing from two stock photo sites that they already had agreements with.  I'm no designer, but it didn't take me long to come up with about 15 ideas, all of which I thought, if I say so myself, were more appropriate for the new book than the TV motif above.  (The last image below of the shopping mall, unfortunately, would have required a time-consuming permission request.)  Two made it to the final cut and have the professional typography (see the first two below).  I faked the title and author typography on some representative other candidates below. 

So, which cover is the winner?  Sorry, I don't want to ruin the surprise, there's time for that.

I can say that it is not any of the covers you see below.





Tuesday, June 14 2011

A Brief History of Advertising

Well, not really a brief history of advertising, but a quick glance at some insights into the advertising process that I gleaned while working on my next book, The Psychological Foundations of Marketing (Routledge, due 2012).  According to research, each successive generation since the 'silent generation' (those who came of age during WWII and the Great Depression) through the 'millennial generation" (those born after 1985), when asked "what makes your generation unique" says "smarter".  We have the Internet, so we must be smarter!  But check out these early quotes on advertising - they're pretty well known in the advertising profession:

Slide 69

Advertisements are now so numerous that they are very negligently perused, and it has therefore become necessary to gain attention by magnificence of promises, and by eloquence sometimes sublime and sometimes pathetic. Promise, large promise, is the soul of advertisement...” 

Source:  Samuel Johnson, 1759  ("The Art of Advertising Exemplified", The Idler (A series of essays in Universal Chronicle, #40).

The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
The second time, they don’t notice it.
The third time, they are aware that it is there.
The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.
The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.

Source: Thomas Smith, 1985 (Successful Advertising: Its Secrets Explained)  

Friday, June 11 2010

Other Recent Books by Yours Truly

Someone once told me not to sell myself short. . . or long . . . but to give myself away.
You know who you are.  But this is marketing, afterall, and I must connect with consumers!

Marketing Communication
Rumors and Rumor Control
Ethical Issues in Behavioral Research

Wednesday, May 19 2010


Coming soon . . . Connecting With Consumers: Marketing for New Marketplace Realities. Available 1 June 2010. Oxford University Press.