If you've never heard of Martin Lindstrom, then you probably don't work in shopper marketing (like the folks here at birdsong gregory). He's the author of six highly insightful and well written books about consumer behavior and retail branding, including one of my personal favorites, Buyology - Truth and Lies About What We Buy. He also recently made Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People" list.
He wrote a great shopper marketing article recently for Time based on one of his invaluable blog posts. The big premise?
The next time you go grocery shopping, take a look at the signs, the type of flooring, and even the carts. Everything has been designed with an eye towards getting you to grab those three cans of something that was not on your list.
Martin spent a lot of time at a huge "shopper research" facility outside of Chicago (run by a big consumer goods company), where test shoppers spend hours pushing carts through what, to the untrained eye, looks just like a real grocery store. Of course, to shopper marketers, consumer anthropologists, and other pointy headed brand geeks eating doughnuts back in the control room over a bank of glowing video monitors, every detail is carefully analyzed and tweaked. From the type of flooring (people move more slowly over parquet than linoleum) to how special deals are formulated on in-store price signs (using an actual dollar sign decreases the probability of purchase), it's a fascinating look at what goes on behind the shelf.