Market Research Saved My Life!

Be honest, how many of you thought you would ever read that as a headline? As someone who has worked in and around what is generally known as “market research” for twenty years I was always slightly disappointed that I didn’t have a job that might be called upon dramatically. “Help!!! Is there a market researcher on the plane?” Is not a phrase I ever expected to hear. As a brief aside, I was once able to put my consumer behaviour skills to good use with strangers: I was taking a train with a friend and a number had been cancelled, resulting in the sorts of over-crowding that’s not permitted for the transportation of any other mammal. We’d failed to get on two trains and watched two passengers almost come to blows as one attempted to compress an over-crowded carriage. When the third train arrived we saw a tiny space, […]

What Tiger Woods ‘Transgressions’ Tell Us About Market Research and Consumer Behaviour

There’s no escaping the fact that Tiger Woods’ personal life has become very public in the last couple of  days. But what, you may well ask, could his “transgressions” possibly have to do with consumer behaviour or market research? The answer is in Tiger’s statement after his private life became monumentally public.  Here’s what he said on his website: “I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves.” Now none of us can say whether this is what Tiger Woods really feels, or whether this is just the best thing he can think to say in the position he has found himself.  But for the purposes of this post, let’s take Tiger at his word. He has not been true to his values. Market research is frequently preoccupied with […]

Crime Victim’s Consumer Behaviour Lessons

I was working at a client’s store, watching customers for a few hours as I do, but I wished I had been watching my car instead. It was parked just outside the store, but whilst I was figuring out what was going on in the minds of people looking at products on the shelves, some thieving so-and-so was helping themself to the wing mirror from my car. My first reaction on seeing part of my car missing was to imagine what would have happened had I seen the thief at work on my car: for a moment I saw myself running across, tapping him on the shoulder and then beating his skull on the side of my vehicle. However, this fantasy was soon interrupted by a dose of healthy pragmatism: I’m not that brave, I haven’t assaulted anyone since I was in a playground fight at the age of ten […]

Meeting a Murderer

The man walked onto the station platform very casually.  Most of the other people around me paid him little or no attention at all, but I found my eyes drawn back to him repeatedly.  In fact, I had to work hard to make sure that he didn’t catch me looking his way a little too often. I tried to size up the situation.  The group around him were standing too far away to be friends, but they were close enough to suggest they weren’t strangers either.  I guessed they were fellow commuters, familiar with one another, but not with each others’ lives.  They didn’t know what I knew about him.  Instead they had been taken in like so many others by his relaxed air and general bonhomie. I considered what it was that had first made me recognise him; what unconscious reference had caused me to notice him, fixate my […]