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Posted by Gina Fleming on May 30, 2012
Recently, I attended the MSI Workshop on behavioral economics at the Harvard Innovation Lab. The presenters included an innovative crew: a number of academics from Harvard Business School and Dan Ariely , author of Predictably Irrational. They gave many examples of how consumers aren’t always rational and don’t always know why they do what they do. This is troubling for market researchers, since it’s our job to understand what drives consumers so that companies can effectively optimize what works and what doesn’t. Let’s look at a couple of examples of how principles of behavioral economics can wreak havoc on market researchers:
So how can market researchers control these biases? Well, you can’t prevent them altogether, but there are a few measures that you can take to limit them.
Because consumers don’t always do what they say — or say what they do — there will always be biases in market research. But making improvements in the way we conduct research can be as simple as having an understanding of some of these limitations.
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