Prospect Theory: How Perceptions of Risk and Gain Shape Customer Behavior

The question is a matter of life and death: A new disease is sweeping across the country, and epidemiologists project it will claim the lives of 600 people. Scientists have proposed two alternative programs to address the outbreak, and you must decide which to implement. If program A is adopted, 200 people will be saved. […]

Eudaimonia: How Health Care Brands Can Fulfill the Lives of Their Customers

What is best for human beings? This question anchors Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, the ancient Greek philosopher’s most extensive treatise on what a life well-lived entails. Certainly, Aristotle suggested, most people agree that specific aims are desirable: Few would dispute that it is good to have friends or maintain one’s physical health, for instance. Yet, these […]

6 Essential Behavioral Economics Principles for Business

When Nobel Laureate Richard Thaler gave his students their grades, the average score was a 96. Out of 137, that is. The previous exam had created uproar: The average had been a 72 out of 100. Even after he applied a generous curve, lifting the class average to a B+, his students remained furious. Their […]

System 1 Thinking: Why It Matters for Marketers

In the first two months of 2009, Tropicana’s orange juice sales plummeted 20 percent. Elsewhere in the category, competitors flourished. Minute Maid, Florida’s Natural, and Tree-Ripe Citrus each saw significant jumps in purchases, causing total sales to remain relatively stable across the sector. Consumers weren’t buying less juice; they were buying less Tropicana. Much to […]

Emotional Branding: How Consumers Make Subconscious Choices

David Hume had his work cut out for him as the title of his 1739 masterwork implied. The British philosopher’s “A Treatise of Human Nature” surveyed the work of ancient and modern thinkers with a skeptical eye. Chief among Hume’s criticisms was an insight about our bias when assessing human choice and action: We give […]

Shopper-Centric Thinking Begins With Human Empathy

I recently attended the Shopper Marketing Expo in Minneapolis, and was particularly struck by Peter Hoyt’s,comments on the first day. Peter, the Path to Purchase Institute Executive Director and CEO, indicated that we are undergoing a tectonic shift in marketing because of the shopper empowerment revolution. And, as a consequence, product manufacturers can no longer […]

It’s Marketing, Not Magic

There have been a lot of meaningful examples recently of the ways in which behavioral economics can change consumer behavior. When The Economist offered consumers two subscription levels, the majority of people kept choosing the cheaper, less ideal version. Yet when they introduced a third, more costly option, people suddenly began purchasing the slightly more […]

Fool Me Twice…

Today, I’d like you to be on the look out for a few things. Water buckets propped above doors. Buzzers concealed in people’s hands. Whoopi cushions. I’m not typically the paranoid type but April Fools’ Day brings out the good, the bad, and the humorous in a lot of people. I grew up in a […]

A Summary of PMRG: Patients. Technology. Behavioral Psychology.

Last year, the PMRG Connect conference focused on helping market researchers become strategic leaders within their organization. This year, they extended the theme by helping those newly minted strategic leaders utilize new technologies and methodologies to uncover rich insight and make critical business decisions in a constrained environment. The Technical Maturity of Healthcare  It began […]

Are you as lucky as the Irish? Or just misled by your own biases?

It’s St. Patrick’s Day. People are drinking, rivers are turning green (here in Chicago) and everyone feels a little luckier. Perhaps it’s the clovers. Or the red hair. Or the random sightings of leprechauns and treasure. Whatever it is, something’s happening that isn’t totally rational. And we love that sort of stuff. Kiss me, I’m […]

Love is in the Brain (Forget the Heart)

Valentine’s Day can be a complex holiday. At least it is for me. It has been since I was in kindergarten and had my first girlfriend. It was in high school when I wrote very bad poetry that rhymed very poorly. Even today, I’m never quite sure what I should do for my wife of […]