HawkPartners Perspective on Behavioral Economics

How ideas from behavioral economics can improve insights generation

What is Behavioral Economics, and why is it important for Insights Professionals?

Whether trying to convince consumers to switch banks, buy a new sports drink or take their diabetes medication on time, marketers constantly seek to influence consumer behaviors. And in support of these endeavors, marketing researchers often ask people to share what they do and why they do it to understand their behavior better. These questions assume that respondents make decisions using rational thinking. This assumption, though, fails to consider that customers often don’t know or can’t explain why they decide to buy.

Behavioral economics is the discipline of interacting with the non-rational effects of psychological, cognitive, cultural, emotional, and social factors on economic (or purchase) decisions. It can help marketers understand and, in some cases, influence consumer behavior. Yet despite behavioral economics practitioners winning two Nobel Prizes, most marketers and marketing researchers are still figuring out how to incorporate it into their portfolio of methods and tactics .

Incorporating behavioral economics techniques into insight generation can help bridge the gap between what respondents say and what they truly think and make research studies more valid, comprehensive, and actionable.

How Can Behavioral Economics Improve Market Research?

Working closely with our clients and partners, HawkPartners has identified four best practices for integrating behavioral economics into market research. To learn more about each technique, download our full Behavioral Economics Toolkit.

    • Better understand decision making by asking questions to gauge the fast subconscious “System 1” factors behind a given decision
    • In order to conduct more valid research, it is important to recognize common biases and understand how to address them
    • There are several benefits to conducting research in natural environments and outside standard research facilities, such as creating a comfortable, casual environment conducive to free-flowing conversation, allowing for environmental cues to trigger certain responses, or reflecting real-life situations
    • One example is digital monitoring, which provides a window into consumers’ actual lives and complements what they say by showing what they actually do

Want to better understand emotional and non-conscious drivers of customer decision making?

Learn about behavioral economics, including the idea of “System 1” and “System 2” thinking developed by Daniel Kahneman in his seminal work, “Thinking, Fast and Slow.”

Understand why behavioral economics is important to marketers and insights professionals to better understand decision-making and human behavior.

Gain four best practices to infuse into your research to generate deeper insights.

Meet the Authors

headshot of rob duboff

Robert Duboff is CEO and founder of HawkPartners. Over his 35-year career, he has worked with clients across virtually all industries and advised senior executives on a range of strategy, brand, and marketing issues.

headshot of sharon mowen

Sharon Mowen has over 25 years of experience in custom qualitative and quantitative market research, both domestic and global. She is known for her thorough, strategically focused research and analysis.

headshot of annie hanson

Annie has led dozens of international and domestic engagements for Fortune 500 clients, predominantly in the pharmaceuticals and healthcare sectors. Her work concentrates on new product development and launch strategies.

headshot of matt bernstein

Matt has over a decade of experience leading and conducting marketing research and consulting engagements. His particular areas of expertise include evaluating message effectiveness, assessing visual aid and educational materials, measuring and tracking brand equity, and conducting global qualitative research.

headshot of mbiye kasonga

Mbiye Kasonga leverages data to help clients solve strategic marketing and branding questions. She unearths thoughtful, actionable insights from quantitative and qualitative research to guide clients through their marketing and strategy efforts.

Our Most Recent Case Study on Behavioral Economics

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The Impact Behavioral Science Can Have on Market Research Insights

Discover the application of behavioral science principles for a prominent pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Read our Case Study

Our Most Recent Perspectives on Behavioral Economics