Sunday, August 30, 2009

Book review of Predictably Irrational

This is a neat book about the subjective way people make decisions. It fits into a recent rash of books that argue that people don't make logical judgements based on perfect information. And there is an economic emphasis to the book.


I'll include an excerpt of the New Yorker review below:

When they examined how people deal with uncertainty, Tversky and Kahneman found that there were consistent biases to the responses, and that these biases could be traced to mental shortcuts, or what they called "heuristics." Some of these heuristics were pretty obvious -- people tend to make inferences from their own experiences, so if they've recently seen a traffic accident they will overestimate the danger of dying in a car crash -- but others were more surprising, even downright wacky.

When you walk into Starbucks, the prices on the board are supposed to have been determined by the supply of, say, Double Chocolaty Frappuccinos, on the one hand, and the demand for them, on the other. But what if the numbers on the board are influencing your sense of what a Double Chocolaty Frappuccino is worth? In that case, price is not being determined by the interplay of supply and demand; price is, in a sense, determining itself.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Match Your Consumer to A Community

If you've figured out who buys your product, now match your consumer to a community or vice versa.

Here's how to find out this kind of information:

Our Simply Map and Local Market Analyst databases give you consumer information about local populations.

Here are some print options in the library:

County Demographics, the Rand McNally Marketing Atlas and Zip Code Demographics.


Finally, you could go online and use government census data from American Factfinder.

Who Buys Your Product?

Who is the typical consumer for your product?

Lotta different ways to research this one. (update: watch the overall training video here. )

There is a great series called Who's Buying (just about anything). Most of these are located behind the reference desk.

Can't miss the Best Customers book.

Library Databases:

Local Market Analyst is a good source.

Simply Map is a good source for seeing how consumers in your geographic area behave. Tutorial here.

MRI+ breaks this down. Watch the training video. This is a way to get some online data from a reliable source.

Another Thing:

Don't forget to get the macropicture of your industry with industry surveys.