In psychological terms, context is almost everything. Much as we like to think that we know how we will act and react in a given situation, without the richness of...
A couple of conversations recently have highlighted just how stupid consumers often are.
Case in point, me.
I like to think I’m reasonably capable, astute, switched on, together. But that’s just what I like to think.
You see, I’ve been following this blog on investment (www.greatwealth.com/). To begin with I felt sort of obliged to stick with it, I’d said to someone that I would look at it. But it was a bit annoying.
The investment adviser there (Rod) seemed determined to spell out assumptions people have about investing with the implicit message that they didn’t stack up. Rod did say he would tell us why, but my resistance was, if anything, increasing as the days went on.
You see I know about investing. Well, when I say “I know” that’s not totally accurate. It would be more accurate to say that I have invested money in my time, like a lot of people.
My “knowledge” is really no such thing. It’s a market-driven, or rather marketing-driven, perspective of how investment works, derived almost entirely from what I see people doing.
If someone said you should do something just because it’s what everyone else does, you would give them that funny look you like to use just before you walk away dismissively. And yet we make tacit judgments all the time entirely on this basis.
And I should know.
My biggest professional challenge is pointing out to people that, despite the fact that billions of dollars are spent on it, consumer research doesn’t work. When it comes down to it, and given that even people who use research regularly find bits they disagree with and so could hardly be classed as true research theists, the main reason everyone does it is because everyone does it!
And as I’ve learned from Rod’s blog, it takes time to point out to someone if prevailing wisdom isn’t very wise. But most marketing happens in moments, not minutes, let alone hours. And that’s a big challenge.