Noticing the gap between what consumers say and what they do.
Recently the radio industry was rocked by the results of using new listening measuring devices to monitor listener behavior. Called “People Meters,” the devices “listened” to the sound in the room of the person wearing them, and recorded what stations they picked up. Prior to the use of these devices, people kept journals of how many hours a day they listened to particular stations. What people reported was that they listened to National Public Radio stations and classical music stations. What the People Meters revealed however is they were actually tuning into easy listening , oldies and country western stations. This is something like reporting that you read National Geographic, Scientific American or Town and Country magazines, when in fact you’re actually reading People, Cosmopolitan or Seventeen.
The difference between what we know we should do and what we actually do is something that smart marketers have noticed for a long time. It’s a lesson many forgot in the dot.com bubble days when focus groups asked people to evaluate whether or not they would use a certain Web technology in the future.
The Hartmann Group, a Bellevue research firm, has explored the gap between our so-called “new thrift” and the actual purchase behavior of many consumers. We clip coupons for the grocery store, but then go out and buy an iPhone. This phenomenon helps us understand why people report that sustainability is very important to them, but their purchase behavior doesn’t necessarily confirm it. Read more here.