The Science of Why Book Summary - The Science of Why Book explained in key points
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The Science of Why summary

David Forbes

Decoding Human Motivation and Transforming Marketing Strategy

4.3 (58 ratings)
13 mins
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    The Science of Why
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    Use the MindSight Matrix to understand why consumers buy.

    So, you’ve got great marketing, a fantastic business and an ingenious product idea. But your target market doesn’t seem to see it this way – because they just aren’t buying your product. What’s wrong?

    If you’re at your wits end, there’s a tool that might help: the MindSight Matrix. This problem-solving technique maps out the various motivational forces that drive consumers.

    There’s one main force that motivates action: a desire for change. Whether an elderly lady buying a new pair of slippers or a young professional joining a gym, all customers are looking for change, and the MindSight Matrix helps pinpoint exactly what kind of change is wanted.

    There are three categories of desired change: expectations, experiences and outcomes. Expectations are what customers want to change in the future. To attract customers hoping to change their expectations, marketers should focus on giving them a vision of the future where the product has opened up new opportunities for them. Experiences are what customers want to change in the present moment. And, finally, outcomes reflect how satisfied customers are with their past choices.

    There are also three categories of motivations: intrapsychic motivations, instrumental motivations and interpersonal motivations. To identify motivation, we have to specify where we want the change to take place.

    Change can either be internal or outward-directed. If you want to change how you feel about or perceive yourself, then you’re longing for internal change. If you want to change your outward appearance or physical surroundings, or buy a new product, then you desire outward-directed change.

    All internal change is driven by intrapsychic motivations. We’ll take a closer look at these in the next blink.

    Outward-directed change can be driven by either instrumental motivations or interpersonal motivations.

    Instrumental motivations are what inspire you to buy those Nike sneakers or that Chanel handbag, or to take that vacation to Fiji. Interpersonal motivations, on the other hand, are what move you to align yourself with a particular reference group – be it punks, clubbers, sports fans or activists.

    This might seem complicated, but it will become clearer through specific examples in the next blinks. Just remember that there are three different types of change and three different types of motivation – with a total of nine different change-motivation combinations.

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    What is The Science of Why about?

    The Science of Why (2015) is an insightful and sometimes surprising guide to a question that only the best marketers can answer: why does a customer buy? Read through these blinks to explore the various types of consumers in the marketplace, and give your own marketing greater depth and perspective.

    Best quote from The Science of Why

    According to the Council of American Survey Research Organizations, US companies spent $6.7 billion in efforts to learn more about their consumers in 2013.

    —David Forbes
    example alt text

    Who should read The Science of Why?

    • Businesses struggling to gain a strong customer base
    • Marketers who want to approach their target market in a more nuanced manner
    • Shoppers interested in how brands entice them to buy

    About the Author

    David Forbes is the founder of Forbes Consulting, an insight-based marketing consultancy. Through psychological consumer insights, the company has increased the effectiveness of several major brands. Forbes also holds a PhD in clinical and cognitive psychology from Clark University.

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