Identifying & Responding to Consumer Biases

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  • 0:03 What Is Bias?
  • 0:41 Types of Consumer Biases
  • 3:55 Responding to Consumer Biases
  • 4:25 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: LeRon Haire
In this lesson, several common consumer biases will be introduced and analyzed, along with discussing ways in which marketers can respond to these biases.

What Is Bias?

If you've ever heard the word bias but have been unsure of what it means, then this lesson is just for you. A bias is a prejudice or favoritism towards a specific person or thing and is typically considered unfair. For example, let's say that you are from New York and you are asked to choose between eating a food item based out of either Chicago or New York. You may be biased towards choosing the food item from New York simply because you are from there, despite the Chicago food item actually tasting better.

In business, one of the key questions that organizations would like to know is what are some of the common consumer biases? Let's take a closer look at several of these consumer biases and how marketers should respond appropriately.

Types of Consumer Biases

Personal Bias

One type of consumer bias is personal bias, which is a bias that evolves from the past experiences and knowledge that an individual incurs in their lifetime. A personal bias only resonates with the individual. Therefore, individuals see the world in a self-centered way and are unable to relate to other people's biases. With personal biases, people are often wrong when it comes to trying to estimate what others are interested in.

Emotional Bias

Emotional bias involves people's emotions being responsible for affecting their decision and actions. Since emotions can run hot or cold at any given time, an emotional bias is difficult to deter. Also, as with most emotions, internal and external influences play a major part in the emotional bias as well. Have you ever had a meal at a restaurant when you were upset? Chances are, that meal was terrible for you. Restaurant marketers may notice some customers come in on weekdays looking upset. They respond by advertising a lively atmosphere and of course, great happy hour deals.

Contextual Bias

A contextual bias is one which involves a similar issue being viewed from two different perspectives, thus providing two different opinions. For example, let's says that Mary and Pam went to visit a local ice-cream shop. Mary loves regular ice cream. However, Pam prefers yogurt and sherbet, which this particular shop does not have. Pam decides to write a negative review of the ice cream shop. The review is read by marketers and thus, their opinion or bias of the ice cream shop is based on the context of Pam's review. The marketers decide to add a few frozen yogurt and sherbet options for people like Pam.

Squeaky Wheel Bias

The squeaky wheel bias is one in which an individual is vocal about a negative experience. The squeaky wheel type of person will complain to a fault. Often, their views will stand out above any positive views. Have you ever seen consumer reviews for a popular restaurant? If there are ten reviews and nine of them are positive, then that is great. However, if that one negative review involves rodents or insects in the restaurant, then that trumps all of the other positive reviews. That one negative review is the squeaky wheel.

Multiplier Bias

Multiplier bias is what happens when someone bases their opinions off of the number of people that have tried a product or reviewed a movie or a restaurant. This type of bias will also occur when suggesting products to someone. Instead of judging a product off of quality, the multiplier bias invokes people to judge products based off of how often it has been purchased. There is no direct experience with a product needed to make a recommendation or suggestion.

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