Pricing in a SNAPP: The psychology of money

Jun 15 2015 Published by neilgains under behavioural economics

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”  - Warren Buffett

Price is definitely not the same as value, although classical economics continues to assume it is. In their rational models, economists (and many researchers) believe that humans are calculating machines summing up the costs and benefits of a decision with perfect information and reaching a rational conclusion (so-called Homo Economicus). The reality is quite different, in that many of our decisions are habitual (automated) and those that aren’t are most often made by using simple heuristics (mental rules of thumb) as proxies for more effortful analysis of what to do. Read more »

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Advertising for the Long Term

Oct 25 2013 Published by neilgains under branding

For those who want to understand how to make their marketing campaigns effective, there is no better read than The Long and the Short of It by Les Binet and Peter Field last year. The 80 page booklet is a clear and easy to read summary of a high amount of analysis, covering almost 1,000 campaigns and 700 brands across 80 categories over 30 years (although the focus is on the last 10-12 years). Their analysis can be summarised by the Peter Drucker quotation they use on the first page of the report, “Long-term results cannot be achieved by piling short-term results on short-term results.”

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What marketing can learn from search engines

Jun 16 2013 Published by neilgains under context

A recent article by Neil Perkins at OnlyDeadFish, talking about the future of search, is well worth reading for any marketer or researcher. For me, the most interesting part of the article discusses the increasing importance of context for search engines, referencing a talk by Will Crtichlow also called The Future Of Search. Read more »

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Lessons from the Master of Deduction

May 13 2013 Published by neilgains under insight

“Tell me to what you pay attention, and I will tell you who you are.” - W.H. Auden

In Mastermind, Maria Konnikova uses the stories of Sherlock Holmes to lay out best practices for deduction, observation, memory and imagination for anyone who wants to be a consulting detective (including market researchers). Some of the key lessons are worth repeating and a good addition to a previous article on Sherlock Holmes, summarised as:

  1. Know yourself
  2. Observe carefully
  3. Imagine
  4. Deduce
  5. Learn Read more »

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Changing Habits

Nov 02 2012 Published by neilgains under behavioural economics

In the last blog I discussed how the cognitive biases fall into five main themes or categories (read here). But how do these biases relate to habitual behaviours and more importantly to behavioural change? In fact the biases are mostly influenced by contextual factors and the emotional rewards that we all seek. Read more »

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Asking Questions Without Asking The Question

Apr 20 2012 Published by neilgains under market research

Curiosity has it’s own reasons (Einstein)

The lifeblood of market research is curiosity and curiosity is a great thing in all aspects of life (as Einstein said so eloquently on several occasions). Market researchers are very adept (and trained) to ask lots of questions, but I think we ask far too many and should ask far fewer and be smarter in the way we design research in order to do that. Let me be clear from the start. Asking questions in market research is very often at best a waste of time, and at worst positively misleading. Read more »

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Mental Shortcuts - Good and Bad (Consumer Understanding #5)

Mar 14 2011 Published by neilgains under consumer psychology

Home Economicus or Homo Sapiens?

We have seen that the majority of human behaviour is controlled outside consciousness.  This is in contrast to the classical models of economics which assume a model of man as Homo Economicus who is entirely rational, always knows what (s)he wants and is capable of calculating the precise consequences of any action.  We all know that this is nonsense, and recent economic events have once again highlighted the inadequacy of such models both for economics and further afield. Read more »

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The Anatomy of Emotion (Consumer Understanding #2)

Mar 11 2011 Published by neilgains under consumer psychology

The growing brain

As we have learnt, the brain didn’t spring into being but emerged over time.  The most obvious evidence for the evolution of the brain is its structure. Firstly, our brain is quite large, but not as large as some other animals.  However, relative to our body mass, the brain outweighs all our fellow creatures! Interestingly, one of the common threads between those animals with relatively larger brain sizes is that they are all very social animals. Read more »

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Do we know how to think?

Mar 07 2011 Published by neilgains under consumer psychology

I can’t think why

After facilitating two fun-packed days on consumer psychology last week, I picked up the latest edition of Newsweek which had a lead article on the very same topic written by Sharon Begley (link below).  Sharon Begley focuses on the impact of the ‘Twitterization’ of culture, arguing that our brains are sometimes so overloaded with information that they simply freeze.  The story is backed up by neuro-imaging studies of brian activity during decision making, which show that when overwhelmed with information our conscious brains sometimes literally ‘switch off’.  More importantly, with too much information, our decisions can make less and less sense. Read more »

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No Research Technique is an Island

Sep 17 2010 Published by neilgains under brain science

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”  - John Donne

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