Jamshedpur, July 28 (The Telegraph): Why does Ms Sharma always choose Surf over Ariel? And why has college boy Aniket, die-hard Nokia fan, suddenly dumped his mobile for a Samsung?
Given that consumer behaviour is both funny and unpredictable, XLRI is setting up a unique market research laboratory that aims to put a fix on the age-old question haunting marketing gurus the world over — why does a consumer choose one brand over another?
Planned by marketing students who make up MAXI, or Marketing Association of XLRI, the laboratory will be working on behavioural patterns of consumers, aiming to delve into the unconscious that is said to influence choices.
“It has been found that the unconscious mind of ours influences our decision making and we are not even aware of it,” explained Sanjeev Varshney, a faculty member in the consumer behaviour section at XLRI.
“It is not a simple question and answer survey but a technique by which we will try to know the exact factors which influences a customer’s decision,” he said.
For the project, that is being pursued in collaboration with the faculty, XLRI is working on a tie-up with a behavioural architect company, the Mumbai-based Final Mile, which is already engaged in doing similar research.
As Varshney puts it, 60 to 70 per cent products launched in markets are complete failures in spite of the fact that companies conduct intense marketing research before launching them.
The laboratory, when it starts functioning, would thus be of help to corporates to get a better idea of the market.
Varshney added that they had plans to collaborate with psychiatrists and hospitals to help them in research, though nothing had been finalised as yet.
Initially, XLRI would start the laboratory keeping social issues in mind, like for instance, how to influence people to stop spitting in public or how to stop people from rash driving or how to motivate people to give up the use of polythene etc.
MAXI already conducts an annual fair to study consumer demands in certain sectors. The fair uses gaming and fun activities to conduct research.
“Ours is not an awareness campaign as there is a technical process which would work on human minds. Marketing students and faculty members are ready to start the project as soon as possible,” said Vinayak Mehta, the secretary of MAXI.
(Customer names in the report are imaginary. Brand names used are to illustrate the point about choices and in no way indicate consumer preferences)