A dialogue between consumer psychologist Laura Zaikauskaite and myself on the topic why consumer psychologists are necessary for organizations.
Identifying Key Drivers of Consumer Behavior
True consumer centricity is impossible without good understanding of consumer psychology. A lot of businesses want to achieve consumer centricity, but without understanding consumer psychology (judgment, decision making, behavior etc.) it is difficult to truly be consumer centric.
Much of consumer centricity is rooted in empathy (putting yourself in the customers’ shoes), empirical observation and common sense. All of these are relevant for designing businesses that focus on the buyers. Consumer psychology goes beyond because it relies on empirically proven theories that simply cut through the noise.
Consumer psychology research showed that common sense (i.e. intuition) often is wrong when predicting human behavior. One source of behavioral science’s the beauty is that its findings are counter-intuitive.
The rise of behavioral economics has provided with firm background for the idea that consumers are driven by non-conscious behavior more often than they expect they do. Surely, it steers their actions to seemingly unpredictable directions. Although it’s so important to understand why and how irrational behavior happens, market researchers rarely measure that. This means that brands do not assess the effect of counter-intuitive scenarios and do not leverage its effect to deliver consumer-centric experience.
The main difference between traditional and psychological approach to market research is that consumer psychologists know how to identify and capture the impact of cognitive biases, non-conscious thoughts, and assess their influence on rational mind. They use implicit and neuro research methodologies to decode the interaction between speed of information processing, attention, memory encoding and retrieval, therefore are able to design most efficient approaches to model consumer centricity.
In fact, it’s worth noting that consumer psychology often uses controlled experiments which are superior to empirical observation. The later tells us what is happening, but the former has the ability to tell us what would happen if some things were different.
High Emphasis on Consumer’s Values
Empathy is a wonderful human trait and, perhaps, without it human societies would function very differently from how they do. Yet, empathy isn’t enough when it comes to consumer centricity because sometimes people are not aware of the causes, drivers of their actions and decisions.