managing consumer behaviour – tip 19

The power of OTHERS

There are three factors that impact on decision making as it related to purchase behaviour:

  • Prior knowledge
  • Marketing information
  • Information from other sources

Nothing surprising here. What might surprise some, however the fact is, that over recent years the relative importance of these three factors has changed significantly. The importance of prior knowledge has diminished a little while the importance of marketing information has diminished substantially and the influence of other sources or more specifically – OTHER PEOPLE – has increased markedly.

The influence of loyalty (as an element of prior knowledge) and branding (as an element of marketing) are both declining, along with a range of other factors that make up prior knowledge and marketing information.

Research has shown that information provided by other people through blogs, forums and other online and offline avenues are more important than either prior knowledge or marketing information. What is more this trend is likely to continue.
While this is a problem for large organisations it may increasingly create opportunities for small organisations with an insubstantial marketing budget.

While this may be a problem for established brands, it can be a major opportunity for unknown brands. Advertising is now nowhere as effective as it once was in establishing quality for example. What people say is far more effective.

Much of this goes back to the consumer’s desire for criteria and information that can help them in decision making
Much of this goes to the declining trust consumers have in advertising messages.


This issue will be discussed in detail on THE D. JOHN CARLSON NETWORK –

John Carlson is a behavioural scientist, strategic planner and lateral thinker focusing on branding, marketing, communication, personal advancement, business development and behaviour management.

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