Marketers will find this approach satisfying as Miller points out that we have been relying on an outdated model for understanding what drives consumers to want and buy things-namely Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need. Spent’s model suggests that humans display conspicuous waste, conspicuous precision, and conspicuous reputation to signal mating and social fitness. (You’ll have to read the book for specifics.) Fitness indicators manifest themselves through general intelligence and five personality factors. (If you are familiar with the NEO Personality Inventory, you’ll recognize these factors.) When applied to market segmentation, message creation, and media selection, it is my belief that marketers will find this approach more profitable and more socially responsible than the conventional “marketing as a business process” method.
From a literary point of view, most will find this book an easy read. Miller’s writing is in the pop-intellectual style made fashionable by Gladwell, but the academician occasionally bleeds through. He offers a fair amount of social commentary which is often arguable, but always well thought out and provocative.
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