Decision Making Map: Psychology applied to Marketing I Addictive Strategy

By March 24, 2018Conferences, Stories

Decision Making Map

How much Psychology is still known and used by the Marketing people? I was invited to the Faculty of Psychology and Sociology to give a lecture on the tools Marketing people use to do their job. On this first blog, I will write about Decision Making Map.

There is a current Bias towards technology and tools that make Marketing more efficient. I embrace that trend. Marketing should be an efficient process.

However, what I find disturbing is the shift made by some marketing people, away from consumer knowledge. In my opinion, Marketing was and will remain the applied Psychology science on Brand Building. The entire Marketing science gravitates around understanding customer decision making and using those insights to win the battle with competition. The new tools can make the work more precise, but we should not get too much in love with tools.

The process of Decision Making is a vast subject. The academic field made a lot of progress in last decade through eminent psychologists like Daniel KahnemanRichard Thaler (both are Nobel Prize Winners, in 2002 and 2017), or Dan Ariely, Gregory Berns and Robert Cialdini. Each one has its own model. The ideas below are highly influenced by their work.

I tried to understand the Decision Making Map and picture it in a very simple way:



The key layers of Decision Making Map:

1. Shortcut Design – The most important design element is the fact that saves energy. Its tricks:

  • Is full of shortcuts and stereotypes.
  • Is consistent with the past decisions: if you took an important decision, most probably you spent an important amount of energy. Therefore you are going to respect it in your future
  • A repeated stimulus lead to a lower response. We get bored.

2. The equilibrium between Fear and Love:

  • Fear is so powerful because is embedded in Reptilian brain. The way our brain keeps us alive is through fear;
  • People run away from some key Fear elements like uncertainty, ridicule, isolation, guilt, shame. 
  • One of the most important understandings of fear elements applied in Marketing is the Adoption Curve. Innovators feel less fear than Laggards. This is how it works.
  • In order to keep an equilibrium in our life, we run from Fear towards Love.
  • Love in Marketing is seen as a projection of Self – current self (what I am) or best self (what I want to become). Other Love elements: social acceptance, being admired or important.
  • The more things I fear inside, the more things I need outside to keep the balance.

3. External Influences

  • External Influences work the same as Heavy Objects influence photons through their Mass. The single difference is the fact that these heavy objects are big crowds or endorsers, while the photons are the people’s views.
  • Like in quantum Physics, measuring accurately a particle, also changes the source itself (Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle).
  • A powerful Crowd Effect appears when we have a cumulative of 2 factors: i) the individual does not credit oneself with enough knowledge; and ii) credits someone else with higher wisdom or believes a large number of people like oneself took an informed decisions
  • Crowd Effect works like a shortcut. Oneself does not need to think, someone else did it already.

4. Own Script

  • People write their own life script since they came on this world
  • Each experience or memory adds to this script
  • Can be measured through values, personal scope or own biases
  • It is shown at exterior more easily by vulnerabilities and habits

5. Perception and Imagination

  • We do not “see” the world outside, we perceive it, which is a process of simplification. The huge number of information are trimmed down, in order to make a simpler, navigable environment.
  • The single issue: Perception is a cognitive process, which is influenced by all the things we have discussed above: Shortcuts, Stereotypes, the things we Love or we Fear, External Influences or Own Script.
  • Therefore Perception is like looking to the world through a biased lens. If we just look at the most basic thing, for example how do we judge something that is beautiful, we will have huge different views, all subjective and personal.
  • Perception fuels Imagination, therefore we cannot Imagine something that we cannot perceive

6. Tensions, Needs and Voids to be filled

  • Marketing is based on understanding customer tensions.
  • These tensions and voids are sourced by the difference between the reality we Perceive (current reality) and the things that we Imagine (a future reality), which brings some advantages. This is the marketing fundament. Understanding people current reality and proposing a new one, much better. 

7. The Rational Veto over Decision Making Map

  • In my opinion, in the regular decision making process, Ration has just the role of justification.
  • It is rather binary, gives a go ahead or stops the process of decision making
  • Has a funny way to justify. Most often, in the lack of self awareness, and with the low ability of regular people to understand their emotional drivers, we can hear at this level buying motivations based on confidence. Examples: One will justify that bought an expensive Mercedes because is a quality car. The key driver however is related to an emotional lever (like fear of being judged by the peers around as lacking success or need for admiration, highlighting the “best self”). However one will not explain it emotions, but the cognitive justification.
  • Another Blog on the battle between Emotional elements and Ration is here.

For a Marketeer is highly important to do the decision tree back, understand his target group based on the main drivers for choices. At the end of the day, the best Segmentations are done based on needs/ tensions and highlight target’s dreams and fears.

Based on the Decision Making Map, Next Blog will highlight how do we construct a Relationship between our brand and its customers.


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