Ten Marketing Research Ideas To Help Grow Your Business


Idea #2 - Do not assume that better-informed people are more rational in their buying decisions.


We are reminded continually that today's consumers are more educated and better informed than ever before. Clearly, a greater portion of our population is college educated and a growing number of consumers have immediate access to virtually unlimited information from the Internet as they make their daily buying decisions. In view of these changes, marketers might be tempted to ask the following question: Since consumers are better informed, can we assume that they will be more rational and less influenced by emotional factors?


One psychological experiment, in particular, comes to mind that may help shed some light on this issue. I'm calling it the High School Teacher's Study and it consisted of the following:

              1. Copies of several essay term papers written by high school students in one city were given to a large sample of high school English teachers to grade from other cities.
              2. What the teachers did not know was that the entire set of term papers was duplicated so that each term paper was actually graded twice by the same teachers.
              3. When the term papers were duplicated, everything was kept the same, except for one thing - the name of the student shown on the term paper. One version of each term paper displayed a first name that was considered "more popular" - such as Robert, Mary and John. The second version of the same term paper displayed a first name that was considered "less popular" - such as Zelda, Bertha and Horatio.

When the grades were tabulated, the results showed that when the same term paper was displayed one of the less popular names, it often received a grade that was one grade lower than when it was displayed a more popular name. Thus, when a paper shown with a popular name received a "B" grade, the same paper was usually given a "C" grade when identified with a less popular name.


This, of course, is only one experiment to demonstrate how highly trained and educated individuals can be influenced by emotional factors. However, there have been other studies conducted as well - including one done with doctors and we will share these insights with you in an upcoming issue.