Market Research – Less Like Mario and More Like Minecraft


Market Research – Less Like Mario and More Like Minecraft

On April 30, one of Alter Agent’s founders, Rebecca Brooks, will be speaking at the Insights Association NEXT Conference in New York. Her talk, called, “It’s Not You, It’s Me: New Metrics for Measuring Shopper Promiscuity”, will dive into how we need to reinvent the way we research shopping and consumer behavior. In a recent article on the Insights Association blog, she writes more about the subject and how we must modify our approach because shopper journeys have changed.

The new article, Mario to Minecraft: How Research Needs to Change in an Unbound Environment, likens the massive changes in shopper journeys to the changes we’ve seen in video games: from a clear path to the finish all the way to a world with endless choices and possibilities. She suggests that research approach this new unbound environment with an eye to reframing the conversation around the shoppers themselves.

The Shopper’s Promiscuity Level: We need to start asking questions about an individual’s propensity toward curiosity, experimentation and risk taking. While these concepts are nothing new in research, we need to start understanding the proclivities of our target audiences and fashioning research and marketing with these levels in mind.

The Product Promiscuity Level: Understanding shopper behavior is about much more than just the shopper. Promiscuity levels often depend on the product category. For example, soda drinkers are much more brand loyal than, say, frozen meal purchasers. An awareness of how product category affects purchases is vital to outcomes.

Shopper Priorities: More than ever before, our marketplaces are driven by individuality. This also means that each shopper has his or her own very specific priorities – even those shopping in the same category. Factors such as timing, urgency, budgets and even personality can affect purchase behavior. Understanding parameters around the shopping experience will reveal motives.

Shopping Context: When we think about shopping behavior, the most logical jump is to examine the shopper and the product they’re purchasing. But there’s much more at play behind the scenes. A fourth and very critical factor is the actual shopping experience – whether online or in-person. The context or environment in which someone is making the purchase can ultimately can alter what people buy.

In short, our research must be rooted in consumer experience – the reality of which is shifting on a daily basis. Because today’s shopper is promiscuous and their purchase triggers are influenced by a huge number of factors, we can no longer push them neatly along a multi-colored path to the Candy Castle.

Want to learn more? Come to my presentation “It’s Not You, It’s Me: New Metrics for Measuring Shopper Promiscuityat the Insights Association NEXT Conference on April 30 at 12:10 p.m.

Author bio: With more than twenty years experience, Rebecca Brooks believes market research is failing the brands they support by relying on outdated models. She is a proud partner and co-founder of Alter Agents (, a full service market research company redefining research in the age of the promiscuous shopper.

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