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« Verizon's Lies | Main | The New Moral Imperative Imposed by the Internet »

September 05, 2006


Jeb Hurley

While a good metaphor, human behavior is, and is not, more complex than weather behavior.

It is more complex in that we humans have the capacity to alter our path at will and can pursue that will to its ends. Free will is a very difficult phenomenon to forecast. Weather systems are bound by a complex set of physical interactions that result in probablities, not certainties.

On the other hand, human behavior is less complex and more predictable than the weather because our pre-cognitive emotions are universal and motivation is driven by a fundamental, wired-in human need across cultures

It is the need to close the gap between what we imagine as our ideal situation and what we perceive as our current situation. By understanding the degree to which consumer reaction to the product, service or concept that you're testing either falls short of or exceeds their imagined ideal experiences, then by designing your offering to actually help close those gaps, you'll command their business and their loyalty.

While not completely preditive, if you find passion you'll find profits.


The day marketers let consumers control their own purchase behaviors is the day marketing as a discipline becomes irrelevant.


John ([email protected]),

No -- it would be when marketing would become more relevant, for in zen-like fashion, often the way to gain control is to give up control. Marketing has long been about how to get control of and consumers and bend them to the marketer's will. In what I have called "the zen of marketing" the marketer submits to the will of the customer, but guides her throughout the transcation.

It's kind of a tough concept to get for it goes against everything we have believed about marketing. However, it reminds me of a piece I read about how babies teach their mothers. We usually think of it as being the other way around.

In that piece, the writer talked of a South American tribe where it was said "The mother whose baby soils her is stupid" -- meaning she is unteachable, for despite all the clues her baby sends her while strapped to her back, she doesn't pick up on them.

So, might we say, "The marketer who is rejected by a customer is stupid" because if that marketer was tuned into the customer, he would be taught by the customer what she wants.

Does any of that make sense?

Thanks for your comment.



Jeb Hurley,

Points well taken! You wrote, "On the other hand, human behavior is less complex and more predictable than the weather because our pre-cognitive emotions are universal and motivation is driven by a fundamental, wired-in human need across cultures."

I have promoted this view for a long time, but it still is not well understood much less accepted by most of the marketing community. How much easier success is found by marketers who get it.

Thanks for your comment!



Market research is indeed a tricky proposition as consumers are notoriously fickle, contrary, and headstrong. How many companies have presented new products with great pride to test groups only to discover that the participants are lukewarm at best!



Thanks for all your comments on various posts. You must have had a quiet Sunday all to yourself given the territory you covered reaching back over a year. I particularly appreciated your calling my post, "Trust Flows from Cultures of Trust", August 31, 2005 "an inspiring post." Other readers: type "Trust Flows" in the search box to access that post.

I would say that most people who have read the manuscript for "Firms of Endearment" -- about companies that proactively strive to endear themselves to all their stakeholders -- have called the book "inspiring." It will be released in January and I hope a much broader audience feels the same way!

Again, thanks.


Well put. I have found the most effective way to win friends and influence transactions is to empower the consumer with information, respect and "love." That's the essence of my Love Bomb methodology.

Neil Catto

Your comment - "I have to believe that human behavior reflects more variables and is significantly more complex than weather behavior." I agree but your analagy is more poignant than you may realise.
If you take the man-made influences away from consumer behaviour you are left with natures influence! After 7 years of research I have discovered that all humans are influenced by the balance of Air, Heat, Light and Water (weather elements). The influence is so primative that it affects us subconsciously.
The research has discovered a combination of weather elements (we call it the Feel Good Factor) is the underlying driver of all human activity.
A problem with all market research is that they ask the consumer questions and observe their actions but it doen't show cause and effect. However if their actions are taken subconsciously they are not in a position to provide a rational answer when asked.
This is perhaps the missing link between current understanding of consumer behaviour and the ability to predict consumer driven demand.



Interesting thoughts. I know very well that my moods are quite saensitive to air, heat, water and light, so it does not sursprise me that there is a connection between consumer behavior and those elements.

Thanks for your comment!



To try and predict a consumers buying habits is like trying to predict what time it will rain. It is not important to know if consumers will buy but what they will by. As consumers we all purchase things on a daily basis, so it is not a matter of how we feel that day but of necessity. If we need something we are more likely to buy it at that moment then to wait and see how you feel about buying the item. So market research is a shot in the dark science.


Brian and Sarah McCoy offers home based business by selling or marketing xocai products.


Looks like a promising business opportunity. Lots of helpful information.


Great post, for this excellent compilation of companies operating in this space.


It is the need to close the gap between what we imagine as our ideal situation and what we perceive as our current situation. As consumers we all purchase things on a daily basis, so it is not a matter of how we feel that day but of necessity.


A problem with all market research is that they ask the consumer questions and observe their actions but it doen't show cause and effect. We usually think of it as being the other way around.

coimbatore flights

Really useful list, thanks very much for spending the time to put it together.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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