Thursday, 24 May 2012

All Customers Are Liars....Sort Of.

Some research by Daniel Read a few years ago highlighted the difference between what people say they want and what they actually choose.

Customers were asked to choose what films they wanted to watch from a list of highbrow films eg The Piano and lowbrow films eg My Cousin Vinny. When asked which film they wanted to see in a few days time they picked the high brow film. But when asked what they wanted to watch right now, they preferred a lowbrow option.

People will often put themselves into segments they think they should be in rather than the segment they are actually in. Or maybe even they pit themselves into an aspirational segment. So I imagine I am an art house film lover when actually I like belly laugh.

Of course, what they don't like either is the brand deciding which bucket they will be put in if you tell them the truth. If Esquire or GQ magazines ask me my salary level I might actually out myself up a band, after all I'd rather get offers about Hermes fragrances rather than the GAP eau de whatever.

Of course it's much more difficult to mask my behaviour. Brands can track my purchase and viewing behaviour so it's a much more effective way of promoting to me.

And of course it has other spins offs. I remember working with a fashion retailer who didn't segment their emails by male and female because they had never collected that information. But email behaviour gave us some clues. It was pretty simple to go back over 6 months of data and see who on the email lists had clicked on male, female or kids content. And yes it didn't tell us exactly their gender but it was a good way of finding what they were interested in.

Sometimes its better to not believe what they say...But believe what they do!

Daniel Read's research paper can be found here

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