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The Laws of Choice: Predicting Customer Behavior: Predicting Customer Behaviour Hardcover – 1 Jul 1997

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 468 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (1 July 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684835452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684835457
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3.8 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,143,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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I came to marketing in a roundabout way. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Aug. 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book was not what I expected at all, I was looking forward to hard definitive answers as to why consumers buy products. What I recieved was theory relative to doing research to find those answers. Mr. Marder lost me numerous times with his explanations of how to do the research and his graphs. I felt the book was more suited as a classroom text book, rather than for your average reading. While I respect his knowledge, work and experience as a researcher this book left me with the feeling that it was nothing more than an endorsment for the services he porvides in his business.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
A must read for anyone interested in marketing 15 Sept. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
THE LAWS OF CHOICE is one of the best books on consumer behavior, marketing and marketing research that I have ever read - and I have read a lot of books on these topics. Reading this book enriched me in four ways. First, it supported and strengthed my conviction that marketing can, and should, be an applied science based on EXPERIMENTAL research. Second, it taught me several valuable research design and measurement techniques - one of which, the unbounded write-in scale, I intend to use in my own academic research. Third, it gave me a lot of marketing research data on topics such as advertising, pricing, product design, and brand positioning. For example, I learned the results of over 100 studies that collectively indicate that consumer price sensititvity is as strong for inexpensive products as it is for expensive ones. Finally, reading this book gave me a new example of intellectual achievement to admire and be inspired by. As you may have surmised by now, this is a book of substance that does not make for light reading. However, the book is not difficult to read either. The arguments and writing are very clear and should be within the ability of any reasonably intelligent and thoughtful reader to understand. In my opinion, this book should be read by anyone with a serious interest in consumer behavior or marketing.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Must Read For New Product Measurement 5 May 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr. Marder and his company have been using this method for a number of years for some of the best know brands and it works. The concept is great although the methods can be expanded upon using advances in technology. If you are trying to find out what people think about product concepts this method provides straight-forward easy to understand direction.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A ground-breaking book, except too late 29 April 2013
By Sitting in Seattle - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recently read this and as a business strategy and product researcher, I have decidedly mixed feelings about it. It was published in 1998 and strangely is both out of date -- because the ideas are very much 1960s and 1970s concepts -- and NOT out of date (because it was already out of date in 1998 and because much of insight is timeless despite the methods).

In the book, Marder lays out a series of methods for assessing consumer product preference, and presents data from 1000s of studies that show both that the methods work and the kinds of results one ought to expect from work on new products and branding. Along the way, he makes a compelling case for doing this kind of research and examines in great detail -- and with real data -- the ways in which it can go wrong.

For instance, he shows how the very simplest kind of comparative product testing can give the wrong result when conducted in a simple A/B (this-vs-that) framework. It may appear that if people prefer A over B, then the right business decision is to make A instead of B. However, the comparison can turn around into the opposite conclusion when confronted with whole-market data (e.g., where perhaps few people prefer B but it is an unmet need whereas A is already served). Insights and cases such as those are very useful and there is much here to educate junior researchers and to challenge and refresh long-time product researchers.

The problem is that the specific methods that he presents were already dated when the book was published. There is a much wider array of methods available than he acknowledges. For instance, the methods he invented to assess preference are largely made obsolete in practice by discrete choice models (aka conjoint analysis). Thus, although there is great insight into research design and approach, it breaks down in terms of practical application; few people would really want to do studies today the way he did them. And the level of detail makes it difficult and tedious to read.

Another issue is that his methods were largely proprietary and self-invented, not subject to as much peer review as those derived from academic sources (such as conjoint analysis). We can believe that they were useful as he shows without concluding that they are the best available today.

On the positive side, too many firms do no research, and when they do, it's not even up to par with the methods he presents from the 1970s. If one absorbed this book and practiced according to, he or she would already be at the 90th percentile or so of practice. Far too many practitioners just make up their own methods in this domain -- and Marder's simple, practical approach would at least be better than what too many people do. Still, the top 10% of skill has seen many advancements since the 70s.

On the whole, I recommend it as an alternate and historical look for researchers who are already versed in discrete choice and the like; and as perhaps a thorough and accessible, albeit rather dated text for new choice researchers. I'm giving 3 stars for method relevance, and 5 for underlying concepts, making 4 as the average.
buy a different book 16 April 2013
By a reader - Published on
Format: Hardcover
One reviewer suggested this is more appropriate for the classroom but you won't find it there, either. Marder's methodologies are not well-regarded among academics or widely used among marketers (who have much more powerful methods at their disposal). What you get here is more of a lonely voice in the desert than the accepted wisdom of either academia or professional marketing or of professional marketing researchers.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Groundbreaking Treatise on Marketing Research 3 Dec. 2006
By Larry Brauner - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Eric Marder devoted more than four decades to the development and refinement of marketing research theory and practice. Each new study Eric conducted for his clients was a scientific experiment. Many studies led to new ideas and methodology to explore, test and validate. One of the things that makes The Laws of Choice so special is that it is the product of a man and his organization's ongoing quest to learn the truth. It would have been tragic had Mr. Marder not devoted the years of effort necessary to bring us such a rigorous review and analysis of his life's work.
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