"It can attend to more information, react more quickly to emergencies, and keep track of more complicated routes. It never gets angry. It never even blinks. In short, it is better than human in just about every way." Taken from Wired Magazine; "Let the Robot Drive - The autonomous car of the future is here," February 2012 by Tom Vanderbilt
We make decisions on a 'hunch,' and often buy something that we didn't start out to get. Trying to understand this behaviour in a rational way has been the endeavor of many studies into human decision making behaviour. Understanding why customers make the purchase decisions they do is the 'holy grail' of marketing.
The quote relates to self-driving cars and why they are safer on the road.
It’s a rational reason for embracing this new technology, less human error resulting in safer conditions for driving. The idea played in my mind because it highlights how limited our access to information is when making decisions, and the seemingly random; even careless; behaviours we demonstrate.
In marketing we provide information, brand cues, service and offers to influence purchasing behaviour. We have a range of mediums and tactics to utilise. Breaking through the clutter in a human mind is a challenge, given the high degree of audio and visual stimulation in the market.
Disregarding irrelevant inputs and distractions is impossible. They influence us in ways we often don't recognise or understand. Measuring perceptions, subconscious choice drivers, innate preferences and underlying anxieties influencing buying behaviour is difficult.
I was reading on Brandchannel.com an article entitled 'NASCAR Drivers and Fans Juggle Sponsor Logos” posted by Mark J.Miller about the high brand loyalty fans have to team sponsors. Fans indicate that they are 54% more likely to purchase a sponsor product if prices are equal and 11% if the price was higher. This is not a surprise given the passion these fans have for the sport, resulting in an emotional connection to sponsor products by association.
We process data that has an emotive impact more deeply and faster. It is our way of filtering out some of the clutter. In my experience this includes rational statements, as often this provides an emotional benefit e.g. makes me feel safer, smarter, frugal, responsible, less gullible, less pressured.
Tapping into these subconscious decision making factors is the biggest challenge for marketers, yet yields the highest returns because it influences behaviour.
After all we are human. Our rational responses often don't calibrate with what we say we will do or even think we will do a lot of the time. When working on the convenience category, stated behaviours did not calibrate to shop item sales data. This was because customers did not remember or did not like to reveal that they had purchased treats such as chocolate bars or a soft drink ‘on a whim.’
Like driving a car, this makes marketing to humans a hazardous and potentially risky endeavour without having some predictive data to assist in strategy development. Always keep in mind that stated behaviours are often different to what people actually do.
Let's face it. This is what also makes marketing interesting the intrinsic drives...the human factor. This is what makes shopping interesting....our random buys.
What are your thoughts?