Countless billions have been spent on consumer research, but author Phillip Graves believes it’s a waste.
“Consumer behavior is a by-product of the unconscious mind, whereas research is inherently a conscious process,” explains Graves. “The truth is that we are far less consciously involved in and aware of our consumer actions than we like to tell ourselves and far more influenced by the questions we’re asked than we’d ever believe.”
Graves contends that:
- We often don’t really know why we buy what we do.
- We are often influenced by elements without our knowledge.
- We are extremely sensitive to the context in which behaviors take place (far, far more than we realize).
- We follow rules and systems without knowing that we’re doing so.
- We make up reasons for our behavior that fit our view of ourselves, rather than because they’re accurate.
Graves’ new book, Consumerology: The Market Research Myth, the Truth About Consumers, and the Psychology of Shopping, also exposes some of the most expensive examples of research-driven thinking that clouded judgement – from New Coke to General Motors.