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The Science Behind Why We Buy


15 mins. de lectura
10 ideas fundamentales
Audio y Texto

¿De qué se trata?

A new bridge now connects discoveries in behavioral science and marketing strategy.

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Marketing expert Phil Barden explains how to incorporate new discoveries from the field of decision economics into your marketing strategy. Until now, marketers focused on “changing minds to change behavior.” Advances in neuroscience, behavioral economics and cognitive development all contribute to a new understanding of and fresh insight into how people make decisions. For example, a retailer who wants to sell more batteries displays them next to the cash register. By the end of the day, he sells out. The brand and the packaging never changed and neither did the quality of the product. What changed was the “decision interface.” This is a simple yet straightforward example of decision-based marketing. Apply these findings to update old, ineffectual marketing methods. The subject matter is complex, but Barden’s methodical approach and end-of-chapter bullet points go a long way toward explaining it. getAbstract considers this essential reading for marketing and branding professionals who want to stay current.



Marketers adhere to imperfect “mental models” of how people make purchasing decisions. This helps explain why new products fail at a rate of 80% to 90% despite extensive research and testing. Alternatively, some products that tested poorly, such as Baileys liqueur and Red Bull energy drink, became runaway hits. Brand equity has always proved unquantifiable.

“Decision science” gives marketers effective techniques for influencing consumer behavior and driving brand choices. Research by social scientist Daniel Kahneman, a pioneer in decision science, links psychology and economics. His framework, which earned him the Nobel Prize, provides a way to structure the insights from new findings in decision science.

“Systems 1 and 2”

Kahneman describes two types of mental processes that influence behavior. “System 1” processing is quick, associative and reactive, an automatic jump into decision-making. “System 2” is reflective and applies to decisions requiring thought and consideration. Consider learning how to drive: Inexperienced drivers deliberate about their actions for every start, turn and stop. In time, the process becomes automatic and their...

About the Author

Phil Barden, former vice president of Brand Development for T-Mobile, is the managing director of Decode Marketing in the United Kingdom.

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