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May 1, 2015
Placebo Power
 
The mind is a wonderful thing.

The brain is able to be our greatest weapon and our biggest hindrance. The brain can decipher and hold all types of information, and it can perceive what the eyes see and make conclusions at an extremely fast rate, whether the information gathered is right or not.

When we look at how the brain gathers information, especially in the marketing sphere, it brings us to the "placebo effect." The placebo effect states that the experience that the consumer is facing is actually happening because they want it to, without being provided the real stimuli.

People will believe what they want to believe, and a Journal of Marketing Research study shows that not only do the participants believe, but physiological changes happen to the believing consumers too. 

What does this mean for marketers?

This can pose a threat in terms of market research. If we give group A the real product and group B a fake one, and the results come out to be the same, we would have ourselves a difficult situation. We want our real product to be significantly different than a placebo; that would indicate that the research and development spent on the product would have been worth it.

But we'll figure out a way.

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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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