Part 1

Behavioral research examines the many variables that form the habits people develop throughout life.1 In turn, these habits make us who we are and impact nearly every aspect of daily living including our spending habits and buying patterns. Conversely, market research inundates decision-makers with a rapid-fire amount of detail about our consumer needs, preferences, and behaviors. To be clear, behavioral science is not new, but in recent years has been paired with market and research activities in a business environment to understand consumers in the marketplace better.

It is not enough to collect data on consumer preferences. Instead, obtaining the right data quickly across all devices including the apps we use offers an initial look at consumer behavior and products or services under consideration for purchase. Companies with the right data have a competitive advantage and target the market more effectively.

A classic example is the Febreeze journey. Customers weren’t interested in a scented spray from Proctor and Gamble, because they didn’t detect odors in their homes. When behavioral research revealed that was the reason, Proctor and Gamble changed their marketing technique – marketing Febreeze as a new cleaning habit. They launched the idea of starting a new cleaning habit that made Febreeze a more desirable way to finish a long-standing cleaning ritual. Ultimately, Febreze was re-positioned as an air freshener signaling a pleasant way to end a traditional cleaning routine and the product sold.

Through behavioral research, marketers can determine why products are failing and identify the consumer disconnect. After establishing common customer behaviors, the company can change their strategy and meet consumer need.1

The benefits of merging behavioral science, known to some as behavioral economics, and market research mean understanding what drives consumer behavior and looking at it from the perspective of a specific business application.

This new pairing in corporate America and beyond can be extremely effective, or it can be disastrous. According to Garrett Meccariello, five false claims to watch out for are:2

  1. “We capture future purchase intent” Consumers are an unpredictable bunch and often do not know what they are going to buy tomorrow let alone a month from now.
  2. “Respondents love our surveys”This is by and large blatantly false. Many surveys are very time-consuming to answer and often pay respondents very little.
  3. “We’re powered by behavioral science” Unless they can tell you what scientific methods they use, or what experience they have in understanding behaviors it is best to take a “buyer beware approach.”
  4. “We do System 1”This refers to making a decision with the “fast” brain approach. There is more than one way to gauge how consumers make decisions, and the methodologies must be layered for accurate evaluations.
  5. “We’re innovative” – “Research methodologies such as conjoint analyses and the Net Promoter Score (NPS) have been around for 30 years. These are useful tools …but must be challenged in what they say about behavior.”

Despite the above caveats, it is becoming increasingly clear that the marriage between behavioral science and market research is upon us.  Recently, a Fortune 500 company recruiter said, he predicts more companies hiring behavioral scientists making the market extremely competitive and challenging.3

At RomAnalytics, we understand the need for highly-qualified behavioral scientists. We act as your company’s brand ambassador in seeking the talent you need. RomAnalytics specializes in finding permanent or contract staff in the market insights and data analytics.