The Unreliable Witness.

When asked to rank the attributes that mattered when choosing an asset management firm, consumers said one thing.  But when asked why they actually chose the firm they settled on, the attributes that had ranked highest dropped from the top of the list to near the bottom.  Why?  It’s one thing to speculate on how we make decisions.  But it’s another entirely to see how we actually behave in that situation.  We are terrible predictors of our own behavior.  So if you’re asking consumers to tell you how they would behave in a certain situation — if they saw an ad or received an offer — or what would make them buy a product or service, keep in mind that the information you gather may bear little or no resemblance to real life.