Category: consumer behavior

Consumer behavior, also known as consumer psychology, is the why, what, how, when, and where behind marketing. From “Why do prices end in .99?” to “Do consumers respond differently to message framing?”.

  • Precision and Conversational Norms

    Last week, I asked about differences in perception between a 39-yard, 40-yard and 41-yard field goal. The primary goal was exploring how people perceive various distances and differences between those distances. In other words, we might have some rough understanding of how hard a “40ish-yard field goal” is and thus lump in 39 yard and 41 yard field goals into one big perception of “40ish-yard field goals” as opposed to truly recognizing differences in difficulty between 39, 40, and 41 yards. Furthermore, it showed the psychology behind round numbers (such as 40) and their potential to change behavior. This week’s survey explored a similar consumer psychology idea but in a different way: (more…)

  • (Potential) Power of Round Numbers

    The majority of my research interests involve the relationship between words and numbers. How do words influence our (numerical) assessment of a situation? Last week, I asked what you expected a player’s shooting percentage to be when a player’s shooting was referred to as “good” vs. “not bad”. On that note, I was in New York City this weekend and heard someone refer to the weather as “not hot”. It was about 20 degrees outside. Apparently that idea plays out in the real world in terms of how people and businesses communicate. This week’s survey explores the same broad idea (linguistic influences on perception) but in a slightly different way:

    What percentage of 40-yard field goals does the average college kicker make?

  • The Psychology of Not: Good Versus Not Bad

    Words are extremely powerful. One word can be extremely powerful. We tend to throw out words without always thinking about how they are perceived. It can be interesting though to take a step back and think about what we are really trying to say and how people interpret the words we use. That leads us to last Friday’s survey:


  • Why do prices end in .99?

    Many of the questions people ask me are about pricing. One of the most popular questions is why do prices end in .99? It seems like everything from coffee to televisions and shoes to computers end with .99. So why do marketers do this? (more…)

  • Psychology of Anchoring and Influence On Behaviors

    What is the length of the Mississippi River? Sounds like a fairly straight forward question but a concept known as anchoring (or magnitude priming) makes people respond to that question in unexpected ways.

    Anchoring is psychology theory that suggests when people see a number, they are biased toward that initial number. What does that mean? Let’s try an example. Consider the following question:

    A. “Is the population of Chicago more or less than 5 million? What is the population of Chicago?” (more…)

  • 1 Year Versus 52 Weeks: Consumer Behavior and Choice of Units

    Does your business offer a warranty of 1 year, 12 months, or 365 days? Is your product expected to be delivered in 21 days or 3 weeks? Trick question, huh? It’s actually not. While the units are mathematically equivalent, academic research in consumer behavior suggests they are perceived differently by consumers.

    Imagine you’re discussing a big project with a client and indicate you expect it to be done in 1 year. What if you would have said you expected the project to be done in 12 months? Or 52 weeks?