The myth of the rational customer – don’t overthink it!

What if something you thought you knew to be true, turned out to be exactly the opposite? What if an approach you imagined was working for you was actually working against you?

Imagine if it were true, for example, that almost nobody buys a product or service anymore simply because they need it, or because its price is the right price? That, even in an economic downturn, they have to want it as much as need it before they buy?

It’s a difficult concept to grasp because, at the end of the day, it’s not about rational thought. That notion is a wake-up call for products and brands who have built their businesses on pure reason.

Ask Gerald Zaltman, a Harvard scholar who suggests in his seminal book How Customers Think that only 5% of consumer purchasing behavior is based on rational thought processes, suggesting that 95% is due to subconscious motivation. I know it’s a hard statistic to swallow, but consider this: what if he’s only even half right?

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One thought on “The myth of the rational customer – don’t overthink it!

  1. Hmmm… if only 5% of consumer purchasing behavior is based on rational thought processes – that is shocking.

    Maybe that’s one reason why actors and actresses get so much money advertising products and services….

    I greatly enjoy reading your blog… I hope a future article expands on how to better understand and sell into the other 95% of the buyer’s mindset.

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