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How Customers Think

How Customers Think

How Customers Think

Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market

by Gerald Zaltman

Why do 80 percent of new products despite the best efforts of market researchers -- through techniques such as focus groups and market surveys -- to predict what customers want. According to Harvard Business School marketing professor Gerald Zaltman, the reason for the failure of traditional market research methods is that they depend on customers consciously knowing what they want and what they will buy. However, customer behavior toward products and brands is often driven by the unconscious, rather than the conscious. In this summary, Zaltman explains how the brains, minds, and memories of consumers work, and how marketers can effectively leverage that information in their strategies.

What You'll Learn

  • You do not control your brand. The brain and mind of the consumer are the key to effective marketing.
  • Common marketing misconceptions. Incorrect assumptions about how consumers make purchasing decisions could be causing you to make serious strategy mistakes.
  • Discover the importance of metaphors and consensus maps. They can determine what consumers really want and help you shape the stories consumers use to make decisions.
  • Memory is far more fragile than you think. By understanding how memories are made and how they change, you can ensure consumers remember your products and services.
  • Think more creatively. Once you understand the mind of the consumer, you must change your behavior to capitalize on that knowledge.
  • Ask better market research questions. The questions you ask inform and predict the answers you hear, so consider carefully how you conduct and interpret market research.
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