Consumer.ology – The Myths of Market Research

The book Consumer.ology by Phillip Graves is all about the flaws he sees in conducting market research, and how to fix them.

The book Consumer.ology by Phillip Graves is all about the flaws he sees in conducting market research, and how to fix them. He gives many examples of times when companies went into downfall, ultimately due to misleading research. Graves talks about the many influences on consumers when participating in studies and how these influences tend to lead to false findings. Some of these influences are the Unconscious and the Environment. He goes on to suggest some new ways to approach market research and lays out his AFECT approach, a list of 5 criteria to consider in order to obtain beneficial results from your research. 

Listen to my full book review below!


  1. I agree with you when you talked about the unconscious motives of people when they purchase things. A lot of people I interview know their habits and know why they buy what they buy. Only 2 out of the 5 people I interviewed/shopped along with seemed unsure about what their motives were.

  2. Graves poses an interesting argument. The author’s opinion on the accuracy of market research is something I question daily. While market research is an extremely useful tool for collecting information on brands, participants can be easily influenced by the setting and unconscious vs conscious mind.

  3. This sounds like a book I would want to read! It sounds like Graves’ AFECT method would be an easy way to stay on track with your research. I also liked his idea of the unconscious and conscious mind in relation to the environment. It was helpful and awesome to hear you relate your book to the class structure!!

  4. I found this podcast interesting and it makes me want to read this book. Over and over again we see books about qualitative research and making sure we dive deep into the minds of our consumer, when in reality, they don’t even know why or have the answers themselves. Sometimes less is more and I feel like researchers get too ahead of themselves when they want to find an answer. The coke is example was intriguing because they are a world-known company and people would think they have perfected the role of research and how to market/advertise their products.

  5. Consumer.ology seems like a very good read, and your analysis was very thought-provoking. When conducting market research it certainly is important to ensure the information gathered is as accurate as possible, and we must keep in mind all considerations when conducting market research.

  6. Consumer.ology seems like an interesting book I would love to read. I loved the example of having consumers describe a dollar bill vs having them detect a fake dollar bill, and really made me think about how we study consumers. Its good that while Graves has problems about current data collection methods, he is able to give a valid solution. The AFEC method is definitely something I would want to experiment with to see if it has an impact on data gathered.

  7. This book sounds good, Phillip Graves seems to have some interesting theories about consumer purchase and the psychological states behind it. I don’t know if I particularly agree that everything is relative and that changing an environment can change everything, but it seems like it could be convincing if you read the book. I agree with what you said about getting these kinds of tips in class, so having something like this could be really beneficial. I think your podcast highlighted some very cool points in the book!

  8. I think that Graves’ point about unconscious behaviors is something we should consider more often when doing qualitative research. Just from my experience in my interviews so far, a few of my friends have listed a certain reason for the choices they make when, just from knowing them in everyday life, I know is not true. We try to rationalize our decisions when there is not always a rational answer.

  9. Consumer behavior is something that really interest me so I think this would be a good read for me. I think it’s fascinating that people often don’t know the true motives behind what they’re doing. I’d be interested to know more about his tips for researching and reaching the information that’s in our unconscious.

  10. This books sounds very interesting, while market research can be very helpful to a brand it can also cause backlash for a brand. Graves is saying that no matter how much research a company conducts there is no absolute to get all the way down to the consumers unconscious mind. Your example of environment was informing as well when speaking on how external factors can lead to conscious and unconscious decisions. This sounds like a good read for our class as it relates heavily to the conducting of research. Reading this will probably come in handy when thinking of how to conduct effective future research.

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