OPINION5 July 2021

Rory Sutherland on failing to understand simple truths

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Behavioural science Impact Opinion

In his most recently published Impact column, Rory Sutherland reflects on how much of what we do in marketing starts from the wrong place.

Three wooden blocks with question marks on them

I think I’ve been writing this column long enough to owe you a confession. So here it is.

In all the years I’ve been writing for Impact, and in the decades I have spent working in marketing agencies beforehand, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about market research. Um, mea culpa! Soz! Awks! What can I say?

I must have read more than 100 books about advertising, one way or another – some of them not written by Winston Fletcher; and I must have read a similar number of books about behavioural science or psychology. But as for books written about market research, or written by market researchers, I don’t think I can think of a single one. (Unless, of course, you include Ogilvy on Advertising. We conveniently forget this, but most of David Ogilvy’s philosophies took root not in the advertising industry, but while working for Gallup). Gulp!

Recently, however, Jon Cohen sent me a review copy of his soon-to-be-published book ...