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February 26, 2014
No, We Can't Rely on What the Consumer Thinks
 
We have written several times throughout the past years about the distrust we have about the decisions that consumers make. Yes, more often than not, people make mistakes about what they thought they were feeling, what they wanted, and more importantly, trying to understand why they thought they wanted a certain product.

As many behavioral economists and scientists have witnessed, people are incredibly difficult to understand. 

We were given a prompt from a book about how people thought of a man described as quiet and studious, who kept to himself, and was overall a smart person. In the prompt, the reader had to choose if the gentleman would become a farmer or a librarian.

By reading this post we would assume that you figured out that the most obvious choice is the wrong one.

Yes, Mr. Studious would be more likely to go into farming.

Why? Because when looking at the statistics, male farmers outnumber male librarians overwhelmingly.

Creativity is good, but one cannot survive on creativity alone.

The topic of this post is balance. We can track behavior all we want (and yes, we should) but even Dr. Leo Bogart in the 1980s found professionals who discounted the idea of using their findings to predict the behavior of consumers.

This isn't to provide alternatives, but this may serve as a warning. Like consumers, ad people need to know who they are looking at and why.

Get excited!

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Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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