Monthly Archives: May 2009

What Consumer Behaviour Reveals about Sexism

When it comes to observing consumer behaviour, or any aspect of human behaviour, there is an important tip you would do well to keep in mind.  The process of observation needs to be as detached and objective as possible. It’s also worth remembering that you will learn the most when your presence as an observer isn’t something the people you’re observing are aware of: “I’ve just come here to watch, you carry on as normal” is not going to work.  You’ve just raised the question of what “normal” is and virtually guaranteed that someone is going to be consciously aware of their own actions. Yesterday I had a fascinating insight into sexist behaviour.  You know the sort of thing, putting women down, not treating them as equals, pushing people into gender stereotypes.  It can get you a little cross can’t it. Who was guilty of this?  Would you be surprised […]

Promotional Pens (and the like), Do They Work?

I recently discovered some research which dovetails quite nicely with the blog I posted recently on Unconscious Advertising.  Researchers wanted to explore the impact of drug companies’ low-key promotional items on medical students; were those scientifically-minded students, on the verge of becoming fully fledged doctors, susceptible to the old-fashioned marketing technique of branding any old trinket in the hope that your customer sees it and decides to choose you over a competitor? The results shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s read my blog or my eBook.  But they are an interesting reminder that we could all benefit from tactical marketing that gets our brand around our customers as frequently as possible (however indirectly). You can find the article under the Latest Articles section here. As always, I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts. Philip Graves

How to Avoid Upsetting Your Customers

Mostly I think customer service is a matter of common sense; but as we all know common sense can be a surprisingly rare commodity. One of the biggest problems I encounter with customer service people is the procedures they’re shackled to.  Not only are those procedures infuriatingly short-sighted at times, they also tend to have the effect of causing the customer service agent to turn his or her brain off.  A customer service  encounter I experienced today didn’t run into trouble for any of these reasons though.  The person at the (small) company was clearly bright, sensible and not tied to any procedures; it may very well have been her own company. But when I asked when I could expect delivery of a product I’d ordered four weeks ago that they’d told me would be delivered in about four week’s time I was told that, “We’re doing a collection from the manufacturer […]

Reading Behaviour

A lot of my work in understanding consumers is based on watching consumer behaviour; people do give away quite a lot. One of the reference points I also use quite a lot is children.  They aren’t so adept at hiding their feelings and thoughts and so tend to reveal even more of what’s going on in their minds.  Given that, psychologically speaking, a lot of what makes us tick is well established by the age of two, this provides a wonderful window of opportunity for insights into what’s going on. Here’s a behavioural example of the extent to which my daughter, aged four, likes reading.  She first revealed that she could read at the age of two, she’d picked it up from being around her brother we suppose, we hadn’t spent any time teaching her.  I think it’s fair to say that she enjoys reading! Philip Graves