We are focused on understanding how and why customers make decisions in order to predict or change future behavior

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Move beyond simple “ask and tell” research

“Last year one million quarter-inch drill bits were sold — not because people wanted quarter-inch drill bits but because they wanted quarter-inch holes.”

– Leo McGinneva per Theodore Levitt, 1983

As humans, we are not good at explaining our decisions and choices to others because they are often made unconsciously, intuitively, and effortlessly. The human mind is not a hard drive that can easily retrieve information. Rather, our memory is often reconstructive and prone to “rewriting history.”

In order to account for this and provide better market research data, iMR developed new and unique methods for capturing customer behaviors and associated motivations.

Our state-of-the-art exercises uncover the true drivers of behavior through:

  • Simulations of real-life decision scenarios

  • Unobtrusive monitoring of the natural decision-making process

  • “Smart” questioning based on detecting unique behavioral patterns

We collect information previously not available to market researchers:

  • Customer’s thought process flow

  • Cognitive shortcuts (heuristics) typically used when making decisions

  • Trigger points/ “Eureka moments”


Understand both visible and hidden drivers of behavior

“The core benefit of modern decision science is to provide an analytical, systematic access to the autopilot system and, hence, to the implicit level of purchase decision-making.”

– Phil Barden, 2013

Our business insights checklist is summarized, in the spirit of behavioral sciences, as DECODING MIND™

Click on any keyword on the left to see an explanation

Click on any keyword to see an explanation


Meaning Market Research Insights

A critical aspect of understanding customers is knowing the outcome of their decisions: what brand was chosen. “Behavior does not lie.”

The majority of future choices will be related to the products that a customer has already used. If satisfied, customers will purchase or choose the same product again. But, even if they don’t, they are richer for the experience. If possible, market research should anchor its objectives around real-life choices and behaviors.


Meaning Market Research Insights

Field and lab experiments play an important role in understanding behavioral patterns and motivations

Behavioral sciences uncovered a wealth of repeatable behavioral patterns based on innate heuristics. However, any new decision-making context could invoke a different set of heuristics for customers. Experimentation is the only way to understand what these heuristics might be.


Meaning Market Research Insights

Context, defined as the decision-making environment, is a major driver of customer behavior.

Although both are used for quenching thirst, breakfast beverages are a different product category from typical dinner beverages simply due to the context. Every market research project needs to clearly define and understand all possible contexts for brand choice decisions.


Meaning Market Research Insights

People are overconfident by nature. That’s one of the main reasons why as consumers, we over-predict our own future consumption.

As marketers, we need to correct for this typical bias. Behavioral economics has provided a scientific toolbox for adjusting forecasts for overstatement.


Meaning Market Research Insights

Although the outcomes of customers’ decisions are obvious, their motivations are often hidden and need to be decoded.

Traditional “ask and tell” research is unable go beneath the surface to uncover implicit motivations of customers. Modern behavioral sciences (cognitive science, social psychology, behavioral economics and neuroscience) can enhance our understanding of customer decision-making by providing much needed methods, tools, and frameworks.


Meaning Market Research Insights

Decision-making starts with perceptions. From a marketing perspective, one of the most important aspects is to understand the cues our brand is sending to customers as opposed to what we hope or intend those cues to be.

The art of market research lies in knowing what tools need to be used to properly encode brand signals into customer perceptions.


Meaning Market Research Insights

Persuading without giving the impression of persuasion is ideal. The key is to position a brand as a “natural” choice.

Market research can help explore how to steer customers in a particular direction by making their life simpler, safer, or easier to navigate.


Meaning Market Research Insights

Customers’ goals are one of the most useful approaches to categorizing brand choices. Uncover these goals to better connect with your customers.

One of the key aspects of positioning is to uncover the particular goals that are invoked by the cues your brand (as opposed to competition) is sending.


Meaning Market Research Insights

The human mind is designed to minimize effort and optimize daily performance. When exposed to ads, people automatically simplify problems, narrow their viewpoint, and apply their default associations and assumptions.

Can consumers easily recall your message?
Does your message require mental effort to understand it?
Do customers “feel good” after hearing your message?


Meaning Market Research Insights

Immediate customer reactions are shaped by mental shortcuts, impressions, and intuitions. What is seen as irrational behavior often is “predictably irrational”, meaning that this behavior can be successfully incorporated into sales strategy due to its consistency.

How to make your brand story simple, predictable, and easily recognizable?
What are the typical mental shortcuts used in your product category (e.g., price denotes quality)?
What do we need to do in order to benefit from the consistency and predictability of consumers’ behavior?


Meaning Market Research Insights

As humans, we are strongly influenced by what others are thinking and doing. Following the crowd, endorsing new trends, and succumbing to inertia are all foundations of customer behavior.

What are existing and expected normative behaviors in your product category?
How does your product fit into existing or upcoming trends?

Dual System

Meaning Market Research Insights

We are endowed with two cognitive systems – autopilot and pilot – used not only in our daily lives, but also in our brand choice decisions. Our autopilot is always on, effortlessly and constantly making decisions. For marketers and market researchers, how this autopilot works is one of the most important dynamics to understand.

The autopilot processes every single bit of information that is perceived by our senses. It has a huge processing capacity of 11 million bits per second whether or not we are aware of the input. For example, when we visit websites, the autopilot will derive a first impression within less than one second – this impression strongly influences our subsequent behavior. Given the number of online market research studies, it is a critical task for market researchers to ensure that our surveys are properly processed and answered.


Design strategies to predict or modify behavior

“The proof that you truly understand the pattern of behavior is that you know how to reverse it.”

– Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Laureate, 2011

Our market simulators can help with critical elements of marketing strategy:

Forecasting Brand Valuation and Positioning Messaging
  • Market share/volume as the result of new product launches
  • A number of possible future market scenarios
  • Science-based, validated adjustment for overconfidence in forecasting
  • Unlike any other existing market research approach, this simulator integrates:
    • Beliefs about product benefits
    • Patient types
    • Physician traits
    • Treatment costs

    into one model that can simulate market share consequences of product positioning changes

  • Our brand message simulator reflects the impact of product message captured in their natural setting
  • Also, the simulator can provide a link between messages and brand market share

Research designed for building and communicating value

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Powered by an industry-leading analytical toolbox

  • Discrete Choice Analysis/Choice-Based Conjoint
  • New Product Diffusion Models
  • Best-Worst Scaling/Max-Difference Conjoint

  • Latent Class Analysis
  • Cluster and Factor Analysis
  • Integration of Primary and Secondary Data

  • TURF Analysis
  • Preference Driver Simulators
  • Perceptual Mapping
  • Discrete Choice Analysis/Choice-Based Conjoint
  • New Product Diffusion Models
  • Best-Worst Scaling/Max-Difference Conjoint
  • Latent Class Analysis
  • Cluster and Factor Analysis
  • Integration of Primary and Secondary Data
  • TURF Analysis
  • Preference Driver Simulators
  • Perceptual Mapping

Contact iMarketResearch

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