Link

What do you really want at the store?

Over the recent years there seems to have been a great push for better “insight” into the psyche of the consumer. This of course is by manufacturers and marketing firms desperate to shelve the archaic survey-and-questionnaire-based data the field has been using for decades. Take for example a scenerio where a company is interested in learning whether customers would prefer a yellow-colored toothpaste or a white-colored one. While the survey-and-questionnaire method may proove to suggest some clear preference, manufacturers and marketing firms are often handed results that seperates the preferences by a mere 5%. In addition to this across-consumer variability, consider the within-consumer variability – you may prefer the white toothpaste today but the yellow one tomorrow, next week, or even a year later. Why is human choice so variable and volatile? One explanation may be the incredible adaptability of your brain – an evolutionary capacity to not just remain stagnate but to calculate your experiences over and over again – re-analyze them, re-define them. Consider a painful experience you’ve had. Would you rather have the brain capacity to maintain the hightened pain associated with that experience or would you rather have the brain capacity to attenuate that pain so that you carry on with the herd? The brain is more of the latter and it is precisely this malleability that makes it remarkable and inaccessible through conventional survey-and-questionnaire methods.