Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Deciphering the Treasure Map

The “Treasure Map” is the decisional process that people use before they make a purchase. This applies to both products and services and if you understood this decisional process you would indeed have a treasure map.

Like most treasure maps, the “Decisional Calculus Treasure Map” is in code and traditional research will not break it. This is because asking people for their “reasons” is not very effective and “emotion” is an important component.

How do we break the code? First we must assume that asking direct questions “pollutes” the process. Oftentimes, people make purchasing decisions based upon emotions but when asked they likely explain it in rational terms. To truly understand, the researcher should “catch” the emotion as it occurs.

The best way to understand the decisional process is to “re-create” the buying scenario using “pictographs.” Why does someone buy a certain car at a particular dealership? How does one decide to take a cruise with a certain cruise line? How does one choose a bank? Each of these buying scenarios can be understood by using pictographs.

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words but, in truth, words cannot substitute for pictographs. Pictographs tend not to lead the respondent in the way that words do and they do a better job at capturing emotions.

If you want to decipher the decisional calculus treasure map for your product or service consider using a pictographic approach. For more information e-mail me at

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