Friday, August 22, 2014

How I became interested about consumer choices


My interest in consumer’s choice begun, when I was working in Turun Sanomat newspaper (3rd largest newspaper in Finland) as a research manager. At that time we made dozens of marketing campaigns every year and we did a lot of research. I wrote nearly 100 research reports yearly. In spite of this magnitude of research data, I wasn’t able to answer the fundamental question of how consumers make their subscription decisions. When we asked them in group discussions, deep interviews, telephone interviews or questionnaires why they did not subscribe, the only answers we got (repeatedly) were that the newspaper was too expensive or they did not have enough time. These answers are quite easy to give, pretty rational, but unfortunately rather uninformative and slightly untruthful. People do have money for many other similar things and they have quite a lot of time for other things they really value. This contradiction bothered me a lot.

I also realized that, even if I could find the “real” motives for subscription or non-subscription there would still be many other things influencing the choice. This a beginning of a journey about consumer’s choices, what things affect the choices and how these choices can be affected with marketing.

Since I am no longer working for Turun Sanomat -newspaper, but have a research company on my own (Miratio, www.miratio.fi ), I have expanded my thoughts way beyond newspaper subscription choices. I have tested my ideas empirically in several studies and fields (the results I shall share with you later on). I sincerely hope this blog will provide interesting thoughts and practical help for all who are interested in the choices people make. Most of the posts will apply the findings to marketing, positioning, branding or product development, although some posts will just describe phenomenon related to consumer’s choices.  I have mainly been thinking about marketing people, but the ideas also apply for social decision makers. Consumers themselves might find the pondering useful and find out how they themselves make decisions and what marketing tricks has influenced them. I also wish to hear your comments in order to develop my thinking further. 

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