How to Use the “4 Minds” Framework of Customer Decision Making for Business Impact

Ryan Hamilton, Emory University

Scientists have spent decades creating powerful and detailed descriptions of how people make decisions. Unfortunately, many make contradictory predictions, and are difficult to understand and implement. In this Marketing Science Intensive, Emory University Professor Ryan Hamilton presents a practical tool for understanding and applying the science of decision making.

The “4 Minds” framework synthesizes research to help marketers identify which area of decision-making science is most likely to apply to their firm, market, and customers. Ryan presents:

  • Four customer mindsets—Ideal Point, Market Comparison, Local Comparison, and Image—and how each leads to very different customer outcomes and behaviors
  • How the 4 Minds framework can be applied in segmentation, targeting, positioning, and persuasion in B2C and B2B contexts
  • How the 4 Minds framework might be applied to better anticipate needs and serve customers.

Ryan Hamilton is Associate Professor of Marketing, Goizueta Business School, Emory University. He has produced classes for "The Great Courses" on marketing and human decision making, and co-hosts "The Intuitive Customer" podcast. His paper, "The 4 Minds of the Customer: A Framework for Understanding and Applying the Science of Decision Making" with Uma R. Karmarkar, won the 2019 MSI Best Paper Award.



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