Examples of behavioral premises


Marketing situation

Behavioral premise

Kenner Toys. An "action figure" named Steve Scout (a boy scout) was launched. His sales were so disappointing that the next year Kenner "sent him to that big jamboree in the sky."

Boys want to simulate activities that they can do themselves.

Federal Express. Despite the apparent service advantage of Federal Express in the small package delivery market, many shipping clerks stayed with UPS.

Shipping clerks want to take responsibility for mistakes.

United Airlines. The airline company once owned Westin Hotels and Hertz, but divested them. They were acquired in the first place because United thought people wanted one-stop shopping.

People prefer to have choices made for them.

Kodak. The company launched a new film called Funtime that was marketed more or less as a low quality film for important occasions.

People want lower quality film for special occasions.

Wal-Mart. It was reported that Wal-Mart was adding coffee shops to some of its stores so that customers could relax and have conversations.

People want to spend a lot of time in discount stores.

In each one of these marketing situations, if anyone at an initial product planning meeting had merely said "Excuse me, but are we saying that..." the product or plan probably would have been scrapped. This is not hindsight. Behavioral premises expose facts about consumer behavior that become a challenge to a marketing plan.

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