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OPINION20 March 2013

Behavioural economics at scale?

PepsiCo Turkey consumer insights manager Erkan Balkan flew in to MRS Conference today to share his enthusiasm for behavioural economics – and his hope that it will soon play a bigger role in the market research process.

PepsiCo Turkey consumer insights manager Erkan Balkan flew in to MRS Conference today to share his enthusiasm for behavioural economics – and his hope that it will soon play a bigger role in the market research process.

Balkan explained how he learnt early on the fallibility of relying on attitudinal data to predict behaviour. Nine years ago, while working at Millward Brown, Balkan was testing an ad for a drinks brand. The results were perfect, he said, but something didn’t feel right. He, personally, didn’t feel like the ad was connecting.

The ad failed.

Now at PepsiCo, he’s pushing awareness of the insight potential of behavioural economics. However, despite his own personal enthusiasm, he said BE-inspired work accounts for less than 5% of his budget.

The problem? “There are no scalable solutions available for behavioural economics – at least not in turkey.” Where it is used, Balkan said, it usually comes in at the beginning or the end of a project: to either frame the problem or help understand the results.

Most of the big MR companies have project teams looking at behavioural economics – experimenting with it at a very small scale, but not applying it to real business problems just yet.

“There are small companies who are trying to apply these tools,” Balkan said – but scale is needed.

@RESEARCH LIVE

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