Insights Review

CCI fellows are constantly adding to the knowledge about customer behavior and trends. The CCI Insights Review synthesizes their research and makes it accessible to the broader marketing community for real-world application.
April 14, 2014

We are different people in the future. You lie down at night and silently promise to breakfast on yogurt and fruit. The next morning, fork in hand, future-you is eating eggs and bacon. Perhaps you established a strict monthly budget to save for retirement. But wouldn’t current-you rather spring for a last-minute vacation with friends?

The inconsistency of preferences over time is often explained through hyperbolic discounting—an intuitively compelling idea to anyone who has ever opted for the snooze button. In short, because people favor the present over the future, long-term goals rarely stand up to daily whims. So compelling is the theory, and so elegantly descriptive of reality, that hyperbolic discounting has started to gain footing as a basic characteristic of human nature. In the words of Robert Frank, Professor of Economics at Cornell University, it is “apparently part of the hard-wiring of most animal nervous systems.”

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April 9, 2014

In the face of uncertainty, organizations make rules: banks set credit thresholds to limit risk exposure; colleges require baseline SATs to ensure student success; restaurants standardize procurement protocols to guard against low-quality ingredients. But rules are imperfect. A credit score is not a failsafe indicator of financial responsibility, just as SATs are not ideal predictors of academic aptitude. This inexactness gives life to a fundamental tension: when do rules and standards help, and when do they inhibit, an organization in the achievement of its goals?

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April 2, 2014

If a sales agent gets paid the same amount of money, does it really matter whether he gets paid quarterly or annually? Will different incentive schemes with a similar final payoff elicit different levels of performance?  Though logic says no, new research on sales compensation found that the design of incentive schemes does matter. Agents work harder under some salary structures than they will under others. The fact is that the way in which money is paid out motivates people in different ways.

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March 27, 2014

In grocery store aisles across the nation, a quiet battle has been taking place and tactfully changing the retail landscape. It’s a classic story of David and Goliath. Private label brands (or store brands) are starting to challenge the dominance of stronger, more esteemed national brands. Increasingly, retailers are deploying store brands to compete in their own aisles, reaping the benefits of higher margins as well as lower wholesale prices from manufacturers. However, the real winnings of war lie beyond immediate profit. The billion-dollar question is whether store brands are actually able to capture the loyalty of store customers.

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March 21, 2014

First offered in the spring of 2012, Strategic Marketing Leadership sets a wide-angle lens on the many challenges faced by business leaders, such as Annie Young-Scrivner, President of Starbucks Canada. From juggling local and global consumer expectation, to handling big data, the course offers a “C-suite perspective,” according to instructor Arun Sinha, Senior Faculty Fellow and Executive-in-Residence at the Yale Center for Customer Insights.

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March 11, 2014

Recent TV hits such as Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead have propelled AMC into the limelight. A driving force behind that success is AMC's Chief Marketing Officer, Linda Schupack.  She recently spent a few moments with YCCI to talk about how she started, what inspires her, and how she defines an insight.

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March 4, 2014

Common sense would suggest the following: if you take two objects and differentiate one from the other, then, by definition, they will appear to be more different than they were before, not more similar. Common sense, of course, also once suggested that the sun orbited earth.  A fascinating series of experiments out of the Yale Center for Customer Insights found that our perceptions of similarity are more complicated than common sense—and decades-old academic modeling—suggests.

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February 25, 2014

When Joshua Dorfman coined the phrase “lazy environmentalist,” he wasn’t just being comic or cynical. He was being realistic.

He was American. He realized that, like him, many Americans wanted or had grown accustomed to rather comfortable lifestyles. They identified themselves as consumers. So if American consumers were to become environmentalists, Josh wondered, how might they be convinced? He arrived at an unconventional answer: they wouldn’t be convinced, because they shouldn’t need to be convinced.

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February 21, 2014

How much would you pay for a mostly blue canvas with a white line painted down the middle? For an art collector at a Sotheby’s auction in May, the answer was $43.8 million. For the collector on a budget, a similar piece can be had for a few hundred dollars (plus shipping and tax). What’s the difference? The canvas on the auction block was “Onement VI”, by American abstract impressionist Barnett Newman, while the discount option is an approximate copy painted by an anonymous artist from an art reproduction website.

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February 17, 2014

You go to a casino. You find an open table. You pick up the six-sided die. Before placing a bet, you consider which will give you better odds: rolling an even number, or rolling a two, four, or six?

Statistically the same, of course, but we perceive these odds differently.

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