Peer pressure affects answers
During focus groups some people would change their answers to create a better image of themselves . Because consumer research can be done in groups a person who wants to appeal to the group’s members is very likely to give incorrect answers.
Most people are unaware of their unconscious motivations
Most people are hardly aware of the dynamics of their decision making. While a person might strongly believe that he bought a small car because he wants to easily find parking places the truth might be that this small class best describes his personality.
Most People think they are smarter than they truly are
While a person might say that he likes to read articles online because they are interesting the truth is that he might just be reading them to procrastinate and to escape from the unpleasant tasks he has to do everyday at his day job.
Most People have false beliefs about themselves and the world
Most people see the world incorrectly because of the false beliefs they developed. A person might strongly believe that his friends will never like a certain product and as a result he might state that it’s not a good one only to find himself using it few days or weeks after it’s released.
Most people aren’t far sighted
Had Steve jobs asked customers whether they wanted to own a personal computer or not most of them would have said that its not needed. Jobs said that consumers don’t really know what they want until they say it.
Many people can’t judge the usefulness of a product before they use it
Some people think that they really need some products only to discover that they aren’t useful to them while some others believe they don’t need certain products only to find that they desperately need them.
People resist change
Some people resist change. When Facebook was launched some people refrained from creating an account and claimed that they don’t need it. Months later many of those people became Facebook addicts.
Experts can give wrong opinions
As a result of their past experiences experts might assume that the world will only work the same way. Barnes and noble believed no one will like E-books because people want to hold books with their hands. This is one reason why amazon took over the E-book market. (See How predictability affects marketing?)
Sometimes consumers don’t know what they really want
Sometimes Consumers can’t really imagine the kind of future products they might need until they see it. Henry Ford said once that if Customers were asked what they wanted they would have said Faster horses instead of cars.
People make unconscious decisions but give conscious answers
When a person is asked why he buys something he is very likely to give a conscious and logical answer but recent research has shown that customers buy products because of unconscious reasons that they might not be consciously aware of.
People want to look better
People who take marketing surveys want to look better and that’s why they sometimes give incorrect answers. A person might say that he that he would buy a certain expensive product if it was released even though he can’t really afford it and will never do.
People lie to themselves and believe the lies
People create lies all the time and even believe in them. A person who wants to show off might convince himself that he bought a very expensive phone because he needs the features in it while in fact he just wants to show off. This kind of self deception always leads to wrong answers. (See What are the effects of referral and recommendation in marketing?)
Wrongly interpreting correlations
Sometimes things are correlated in the most unusual ways. One of such things is that the sold ice creams are correlated with shark attacks on people. There is no direct ‘incredible’ connection between the two – warm weather leads to more swimmers in the sea and more ice creams sold.