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Subconscious roots of purchasing decisions

Subconscious roots of purchasing decisions

We are used to see humans as rational beings. Yet, most human behavior is managed automatically by the brain, without mobilizing reason. Can this be used to reinforce the effectiveness of your marketing efforts?

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Why are we willing to pay more for the same food product at the end of the morning than at the beginning of the afternoon? The objective properties of the product remain the same. But depending on whether our stomach is empty or full, we do not assign the same value to food. Because such phenomena are not well integrated in the traditional economic conception of man as a purely rational being, marketing teams are frequently caught short. Baileys liquor and Red Bull energy drink, for example, have had great commercial success despite catastrophic consumer tests. Conversely, Tropicana’s new packaging, applauded in the specialized trade press, caused company revenues to plummet by €30 million in just two months!

Recent neuroscience findings can help us to understand these seemingly aberrant results. Indeed, the majority of our choices depend on automatic, subconscious decisions largely overlooked in marketing studies. When we approach customers to convince them of the advantages of a particular offering, we address their rational brain, and neglect to take account of other decisive factors in their behavior.

Understanding the subconscious functioning of the brain is therefore critical to optimize marketing efforts. Three factors in particular appear to be essential:

- Consider the purchasing situation. Our preferences are not stable, but may indeed vary widely depending on the context and the time of day. This factor must be integrated when segmenting the market!

- Rely on existing reflexes. Creating new reflexes in customers is very difficult. It is consequently a better idea to rely on habits which are already firmly embedded to elicit desired behavior.

- Facilitate the automatic recognition of your offering. Our over-taxed brain can only concentrate on a limited number of indicators to focus its attention. Understanding these indicators is thus invaluable to find effective ways to capture the interest of potential customers.

Synthèse n°222a


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