How Customers Think: Essential Insights Into the Mind of the Market

DIAMOND
RATING
Senteo Rating 2.5
04/27/23
views 3961
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Author:Gerald Zaltman
04/27/23
views 3962
comments0
Author:Gerald Zaltman
DIAMOND
RATING
Senteo Rating 2.5

How Customers Think: Essential Insights Into the Mind of the Market
Gerald Zaltman, Harvard Business School Press, 2003
Senteo’s Review information

In How Customers Think, the author begins with the premise that 80 percent of new offerings fail mainly because market research measures fail to adequately identify what customers want, since 95 percent of customer thinking happens in our unconscious.

“A great mismatch exists between the way consumers experience and think about their world and the methods marketers use to collect this information.” He proposes creative questioning that probes the unconscious values which influence consumer reactions to products and marketing campaigns. Areas covered to address these shortcomings include developing research questions which address the unconscious brain, metaphor elicitation, response latency and neuroimaging techniques, utilizing consensus maps and understanding how memory works. He also intersperses the technical with marketing campaign success stories.

The author draws on an extensive body of multidisciplinary research, such as using consensus maps (useful diagrams), many examples of understanding the cognitive unconscious, metaphor elicitation examples and understanding the consumer’s memory process. This is an extensive study of research techniques and understanding the consumer mind.

The book is at times a disorganized or a rambling array of market research techniques and subjects. The author moves from brand development to product development and service experience with little structure or methodology for application.  It come across as overly academic at times, rather than a business or marketing book with clear methodology or structured applications. However, marketing executives or research types will find the wealth of techniques and examples compensate for these shortcomings.

How to unlock the hidden 95 percent of the customer’s mind that traditional marketing methods have never reached? This title provides practical synthesis of the cognitive sciences. Drawing heavily on psychology, neuroscience, sociology, and linguistics, Zaltman combines academic rigor with real-world results to offer highly accessible insights, based on his years of research and consulting work with large clients like Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble. An all-new tool kit: Zaltman provides research tools – metaphor elicitation, response latency, and implicit association techniques, to name a few – that will be all-new to marketers and demonstrates how innovators can use these tools to get clues from the subconscious when developing new products and finding new solutions, long before competitors do.

This book offers many examples of tools which leading companies are using to help marketers “mine the unconscious.” Examples include developing research questions which speak to the unconscious brain, uncovering meaning through customer metaphors for use in brand communications or better measuring consumer reactions to marketing stimuli. The book will be of particular interest to marketing executives and market research professionals. For more on this subject, see the Senteo review for The Buying Brain.

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This book provides extensive insight into how the customer thinks and how to go about measuring and understanding it. It does provide some suggestions for applying this theory and knowledge to things such as research techniques or developing research questions which speak to the unconscious, however it is rather light on any structured approach to application.

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    How Customers Think: Essential Insights Into the Mind of the Market
    Gerald Zaltman, Harvard Business School Press, 2003
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