218 episodes

Consumers are weird. They don't do what they say they will do and don't act how we think they "should." Enter Melina Palmer, a sales conversion expert with a personal mission to make your business more effective and brain friendly. In this podcast, Melina will take the complex concepts of behavioral economics (the study and science of why people buy - or not) and provide simple, actionable tips you can apply right away in your business. Whether you're a small business or thriving corporation, Melina's tips can help your business increase sales and get more customers.

The Brainy Business | Understanding the Psychology of Why People Buy | Behavioral Economics Melina Palmer

    • Business
    • 4.7 • 139 Ratings

Consumers are weird. They don't do what they say they will do and don't act how we think they "should." Enter Melina Palmer, a sales conversion expert with a personal mission to make your business more effective and brain friendly. In this podcast, Melina will take the complex concepts of behavioral economics (the study and science of why people buy - or not) and provide simple, actionable tips you can apply right away in your business. Whether you're a small business or thriving corporation, Melina's tips can help your business increase sales and get more customers.

    Do Nudges Work? with Michael Hallsworth

    Do Nudges Work? with Michael Hallsworth

    In today's conversation, I am joined by Michael Hallsworth, managing director for the Americas division of the Behavioral Insights Team, or BIT. Michael was on the show nearly two years ago in episode 125 when he was sharing about his book which is aptly named Behavioral Insights.
    The reason he is here today is to talk about a debate that has been going on across the behavioral science community for the bulk of this year: "Do nudges work?"
    Michael wrote an article recently in Behavioral Scientist which laid out all the points in a very clear way and talked about the real question we should be asking (as well as the next steps for the field in the future). I knew he was the perfect guest to come on and speak about this. He does a great job summarizing everything here and I hope you get value from this conversation. It can be hard to look at ourselves, the fields we are in, or ourselves personally, and embrace opportunities for improvement. But, it is so necessary in order to grow, change and thrive. The field is built on solid science, and we have an opportunity to do even more going forward. Listen in to hear all of our thoughts on this hot topic.
    Show Notes: [00:42] In today's conversation, I am joined by Dr. Michael Hallsworth, managing director for the Americas division of the Behavioral Insights Team. He was on the show nearly two years ago.  [02:37] It can be hard to look at ourselves, the fields we are in, or ourselves personally, and embrace opportunities for improvement. But, it is so necessary in order to grow, change and thrive. [05:00] Michael shares about himself and his background in behavioral science.  [06:56] Nudges guide people to decide while maintaining their freedom of choice.  [08:26] Publication bias is a problem that affects many disciplines (not just behavioral science) in the scientific literature. [11:19] Singular data points are not generalizable in other contexts. Context and testing are key.  [13:22] First we need to understand what is a realistic effect size for some of these interventions and can we get a better understanding of how context affects results.  [15:42] A missing piece of this debate around if nudges do or don’t work is looking at some work that is not affected by publication bias.  [16:59] We do have evidence for the real-world effects of nudging that are not affected by publication bias. Those effects are smaller than the ones in the original study but they are still meaningful.  [19:06] Human behavior is complex. Results vary by context and group.  [21:21] There are factors going into a result that are meaningful which may mean that something doesn’t work in a different situation.  [22:56] Instead of making overall claims we should be talking about some of these ideas a bit like scientists have talked about incentives.  [23:53] We don’t need to oversimplify or oversell because the results are there but they vary in ways we don’t understand (yet).  [25:34] Moving forward we can run multi-size studies so we can explore these differences more systematically.  [27:42] When you take your results together, you should be able to see which idea is more supported.  [29:49] They found that if you thought something was more context-dependent those studies were less likely to replicate success.  [31:35] It’s not about what you know. It is about how you match it to context to produce a result.  [33:56] Behavioral Science “in the wild” is different from behavioral science in the lab. [35:07] Within organizations it can be really hard to start tracing the threads between studies and looking into the connections.  [37:11] Michael shares about his upcoming manifesto.  [39:20] The overriding question he discusses in the manifesto is “How do we help behavioral science tackle some of those bigger questions?” [40:14] “Do nudges work?” is the wrong debate. There are ways we can take behavioral science forward.  [42:02] Anything that has happened so far isn

    • 50 min
    Changing Health with the “EATS” Model and the Healthy Behavior Institute

    Changing Health with the “EATS” Model and the Healthy Behavior Institute

    Today I’m joined by Scott Schutte and Dr. Janine Stichter, co-founders of the Healthy Behavior Institute. Scott is a personal trainer, weight loss behavior coach, gym owner, and fitness educator who has successfully guided thousands of people on their fitness journey. Janine (whom he calls “Dr. J”) has been in the field of behavior change for over 20 years as a researcher, author, educator, and practitioner. 
    Her career has focused on understanding the “why” behind behavior and identifying clear practices that are practical and result in sustained change. As part of her research, she has procured over 14M in federal grants, published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and three books. (As well as chairing 40+ doctoral dissertations and masters committees, providing over 150 international and national presentations, and over 80 workshops.) 
    Together, they co-founded the Healthy Behavior Institute, an educational platform for fitness professionals and gym owners that specialize in behavior modification. I was particularly interested in having on the show because they are changing an industry where everyone has just sort of accepted that people don't do what they “should,” yet where everyone keeps doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results instead of trying something new. Thankfully, they have, and so I have asked them to enlighten us on the work they do and the advice they would give to others looking to do something similar – in any industry. 
    Show Notes: [00:44] In today's conversation, I am joined by Scott Schutte and Dr. Janine Stichter (Dr. J), co-founders of the Healthy Behavior Institute. [02:21] The Healthy Behavior Institute is an educational platform for fitness professionals and gym owners that specialize in behavior modification. [05:14] Scott shares about himself, his background, and how his work is related to behavioral science.  [06:06] Dr. J shares about herself, her background, and how her work is related to behavioral science. She has a doctorate in behavioral analysis. [08:22] The case for the need for behavioral science often comes from a health or wellness example because it is an area where everyone knows what they “should” do…but behavior rarely changes.  [09:50] Many times fitness trainers or the industry have misinformation because they are looking at things through their own lens.  [11:50] A lot of us can do something for a period of time that is extreme but we don’t maintain it.  [12:15] Behavior does not persist unless it is being reinforced and serving a purpose.  [12:56] When they talk about the root causes they use the EATS Model - Escape, Attention, Tangible, and Sensory.  [14:21] If we can figure out and help people figure out what the root cause of the behavior is then we can find a replacement that matches that.  [16:09] Your eating behaviors and reasoning can flow throughout the day.  [19:01] Having a guide through these changes is the fast track and going to keep you on point.  [19:55] People go through different stages of life so they have different wants and desires. This is an ongoing process that we need to reevaluate and reconfigure along the way.  [23:16] We need to focus on the minimum we need to do to trend in the direction of our goals. Tracking or journaling can be a short term learning tool but it is not something everyone has to do long term.  [24:26] Your clients are coming with different personalities and different ways they are naturally wired – you need to meet them where they are at.  [25:45] Using tracking or journaling at certain points can be helpful when necessary to educate or just give a better picture.  [28:03] The EATS Model gives you a place to start to try to understand the behavior.  [30:37] We don’t have to adjust everything every day. We could make adjustments a few days a week and still see an impact.  [32:56] Understanding the problem and the behavior shift you are trying to make is so impor

    • 46 min
    Unity: Cialdini’s 7th Principle of Persuasion

    Unity: Cialdini’s 7th Principle of Persuasion

    A little over a year ago, in episode 157 of The Brainy Business, I was honored to have Dr. Robert Cialdini join me on the show to talk about the new and expanded version of his book Influence, which has sold many, many millions of copies around the world, and it is so impactful even nearly 40 years after its original publishing date. The new version added 220 (pure gold!) pages and a whole new seventh principle of persuasion – unity – which is of course the focus of today’s episode. 
    The six original principles of persuasion include reciprocity, liking, authority, scarcity, social proof, and commitment/consistency. Most of those already have their own episodes of the podcast, which are linked for you in the show notes along with my interview with Bob when he was on the show. So, why unity? As I said, while I’ve dedicated episodes to several of the initial six principles, including scarcity, social proof, reciprocity, and precommitment…I haven’t done them all yet…so why jump to the end with Unity before “completing the set” so to speak? Listen in to find out why and learn more about the amazing principle of unity. 
    Show Notes: [00:07] Today’s behavioral economics foundations episode is all about Cialdini's new 7th principle of persuasion: unity. [00:48] In episode 157 of The Brainy Business, I was honored to have Dr. Robert Cialdini join me on the show to talk about the new and expanded version of his book Influence, which has sold multi multi multi million copies and it is so impactful even nearly 40 years after its original publishing date. [03:36] Unity is an underlying principle that runs through all the others. If you have unity, everything else can come easier, so understanding this technique can be impactful in most any approach. (A great reason to jump here first! It also has less info on it when you search since it is new, so I wanted to contribute there, and it has a big feature in my new book, What Your Employees Need and Can’t Tell You).  [04:54] Melina shares an overview of the first six principles. Reciprocity: when given a gift, even something incredibly small, people feel compelled to give back to the gifter. [05:51] People are more likely to do business with people they like. We are also influenced by people in authority even when they don’t have any expertise in the area we may be asking about. [06:28] Because we are a herding species, we are very influenced by social proof. We also are very influenced by items that are scarce. We find them more valuable, our FOMO and loss aversion are triggered.  [07:04] People like to be consistent and do what they have said they will do.  They also like to do business with people who do what they say they will do. Showing that you have done this is powerful. [08:02] If people aren’t buying what you have to sell, whether it is an idea or a physical product or service or anything else, it doesn’t necessarily mean the idea is wrong or bad. You can often change the way you are presenting the information and enjoy a different result. [08:35] Unity goes beyond liking or social proof and is in the space of how we are the same. It’s not just that I like you, but we are (as they say) cut from the same cloth. When you are part of my tribe, when we are a WE, I become more compelled toward whatever it is you are asking for or offering up. [09:36] We all have a lot of identities that we flow between throughout the day; they don’t have to be weighty to create that connection.  [10:54] It is pretty easy for people to come up with 20 self-defining things pretty quickly off the top of their head.  [12:32] The way we identify with a group can shape the way we see the world around us and the decisions we make. [14:31] A key to unity is finding what is central, core, or defining to both people. [16:25] When you find something that you like about someone else, it creates a connection that makes them, in turn, like you more. [18:03] Ask good questions

    • 34 min
    Questionstorming at KIND / Mars with Beatrix Daros

    Questionstorming at KIND / Mars with Beatrix Daros

    In today's conversation, I am joined by Beatrix Daros, Global Consumer Intelligence Director for Mars, and today we are talking mostly about a project we worked on together for KIND snack bars around healthy snacking and checkout/impulse buying in grocery stores. Beatrix also shares about some technology they used during the pandemic and her advice for others looking to incorporate similar work at their companies. This conversation is a revisit of the session we did together at IIEX Europe in Amsterdam a few weeks back, which was an awesome event -- thank you to Greenbook for having us out for that! 
    Beatrix is so awesome and I'm delighted that she is joining me on the podcast. The event space in Amsterdam didn't allow for the same easy replay on the podcast, so she was kind enough (pun intended) to do another recording with me here -- so even those who watched the session live in Amsterdam will get something a little different in the episode. We talk about the questionstorming session we did in 2019, the studies they implemented based on that work, her plans for future research, and so much more.
    Show Notes:
    [00:43] In today's conversation, I am joined by Beatrix Daros, Global Consumer Intelligence Director for Mars. [01:45] Melina) will be speaking at another upcoming Greenbook event IIEX Behavior in Chicago September 13th-14th. [03:35] The event space in Amsterdam didn't allow for the same easy replay on the podcast, so Beatrix was kind enough (pun intended) to do another recording with me here.  [06:02] Beatrix shares about herself and the work she does.  [07:07] KIND is a healthy snack bar with very low sugar levels, high content of nuts, and very little processing. It is called KIND because we need more kindness in the world.  [08:06] Beatrix shares her history and background.  [10:16] Research tip: the most important thing is really to connect with people from the segments you are working with. (In their case, it was countries.) [12:02] In some countries snacking is very established; it is considered part of the normal routine and part of their culture.  [13:18] How people make decisions related to health is very different across countries. They researched what is affecting these decisions. [15:11] They are doing research in the US, including looking at new products. In the rest of the world, they are looking to establish the brand like it is in the US.  [18:00] Impulse buys matter a lot for the Mars legacy brands. Bars, whether they are indulgent or healthy, are very often bought impulsively.  [20:43] Their expectation is that in the next five years other governments will likely follow what the UK is doing with their health regulations.  [23:18] They started by really trying to understand what goes on in the brain of the consumers and what influences their decisions. They also looked at behavioral science and how they could apply it.  [25:05] Melina worked with their team at a full-day workshop. They started off the day with Melina sharing about behavioral economics, how the brain works, and some specific concepts, and then they went to questionstorming.   [27:26] It is important for everyone to be part of the process even if their idea doesn’t ultimately get selected (this helps with the IKEA effect).  [29:45] Questionstorming was much more inclusive and improved engagement because every question found a space even if it wasn’t part of the first phase. It opened up and really brought people together.  [31:08] Technology was wonderful for their project (especially with the pandemic) because they could learn very fast and get super clear on the outcomes.  [33:19] They decided they would not go back to the way they did research before (in-person) because it was much more time-consuming. Technology can help you speed up and get results in 1-2 weeks. They may then test in stores for 4-6 weeks for validation, but it is still often faster than the old way of testing.  [34:29] Beatrix tip: rely on t

    • 53 min
    The Power of Regret with Daniel Pink

    The Power of Regret with Daniel Pink

    In today's conversation, I am joined by Daniel Pink; author of five New York Times bestsellers, including his latest, The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward (which is the focus of our conversation today). His other books include When, A Whole New Mind, Drive, and To Sell is Human. Dan’s books have won multiple awards, have been translated into 42 languages, and have sold millions of copies around the world.
    I reached out to Dan while I was writing my new book, What Your Employees Need and Can't Tell You (which is now on presale and coming out on October 11, 2022) because I reference his book Drive a few times and wanted him to have a chance to weigh in and make sure I attributed everything correctly (something I do for every mention in my books). I was so deep in writing mode that I didn't realize he had a new book coming out at that time, so I asked him to come join me on the podcast to talk about his newest book, The Power of Regret. You will hear all about it in our conversation of course, but let me tell you, this book did not disappoint. It is full of great examples and extensive research -- it will change the way you think about regret and what it means to be human. You don’t want to miss this conversation where we talk all about it.
    Show Notes: [00:40] In today's conversation, I am joined by Dan Pink. He is the author of five New York Times bestsellers. [01:51] In this episode we talk about his newest book, The Power of Regret. [03:41] Dan shares about himself and his background. [05:49] He realized in his early thirties what he was doing on the side (writing) should be what he was doing full-time.  [07:12] He shares about the manga comic book he wrote called The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need. It is a 180-page graphic novel written in the Japanese comic form of manga.   [09:41] The book received a number of awards, including one from the American Library Association.  [12:06] In the first week the book came out he got an offer for the movie rights, which he declined, and he never got another one. (Per the theme of today’s episode…Does he regret it?)   [14:43] Dan’s tips for writing books: When it comes to writing and content creation there is a lot to be said for getting the reps. Start small and work up to writing a book. Listen to the feedback you get. [15:59] When writing a book you have to have a very high bar for whether something is worth writing a book about. Many ideas don’t have shoulders broad enough to carry a full book and they would be better as an article or essay.  [17:20] Writing a book is hard so if you don’t pick a topic that you are deeply interested in it is going to be a profoundly miserable experience.  [19:50] Does your book deserve 9 hours and 300 pages of someone else’s time? And, do you want to live with this for the rest of your life? [21:13] His early book Free Agent Nation was about the rise of people who were working for themselves.  [22:41] At any point in our lives we want to have some exploration but at a certain point, we have to execute.  [25:15] Dan loves sharing what he is working on along the way and getting feedback from others.   [27:14] Not only is regret normal and exceedingly common. Everybody has regrets.  [28:15] We want to use our regrets as information for understanding what our value is and learning to do better.  [29:21] He did two pieces of original research, one was The American Regret Project. It was a very large public opinion survey of the US population.  [30:59] He also did a piece of qualitative research called The World Regret Survey where he invited people around the world to submit their regrets (over 20,000 of them!).  [31:55] He found that people around the world had the same four core underlying regrets over and over again.  [33:42] One of the core regrets is foundation regrets. These are regrets people have about small bad decisions early in life that accumulate

    • 49 min
    Common Errors in Financial Decision Making with Dr. Chuck Howard

    Common Errors in Financial Decision Making with Dr. Chuck Howard

    Today I am very excited to introduce you to Dr. Chuck Howard, an Assistant Professor of Marketing in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. In his research, Chuck asks questions like, “Why do consumers so often underpredict their future expenses?” and “Why do people who work in the gig economy over-predict their future income?” He then designs simple solutions for these problems that help people improve their financial well-being.
    Chuck’s research has earned awards from the Society for Consumer Psychology, the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, and the Behavioral Insights Group at Harvard University. Chuck earned his Ph.D. in Marketing and Behavioral Science from the University of British Columbia, and his BA in Economics and Finance from Ryerson University.
    I met Chuck on a recent trip to College Station and we have had a few conversations since then. Upon hearing about some of his recent research I thought it would be something that you would find interesting (I sure did!) and while it is more on personal financial decision-making, we definitely talk about this from a business aspect, and the insights are relevant to everyone -- especially all the people in the financial industry who I know listen to the show.
    Show Notes: [00:41] Today I am very excited to introduce you to Dr. Chuck Howard, an Assistant Professor of Marketing in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. [03:36] Chuck and Melina didn’t meet in the same way as most guests of the show.  [04:04] Chuck shares about himself, his background (including a “gap decade”), and how he found himself in this space. [06:30] He was able to combine his passion and knowledge of psychology and economics to land on studying consumer financial decision-making. [07:38] Making ridiculously optimistic budgets or underpredicting your future expenses can help a lot of people spend less money. They often spend more than they budget (but still spend less than they used to) as long as they track their spending.  [10:12] Melina and Chuck talk about some weird common sayings and how they don’t always translate around the world. [10:51] There are a number of situations in which you need to have an accurate view of how much you are going to spend in the future.  [13:14] He was motivated to understand why people underpredict expenses and how we can improve their predictions and accuracy. He wanted to help people make better financial decisions to improve their financial well-being.  [14:25] People’s predictions of expenses are deeply grounded in their past experiences. The problem is they are only thinking of the very typical things they have endured.  [16:18] In their research, they never found that the tendency to underpredict expenses or over-predict income is tied to being an optimist. It is simply about what comes to mind most easily when you are making the prediction.  [18:23] Chuck shares about a study they did where they asked people over several weeks to tell how much they spent the week prior, how typical their spending was that week, and how much they think they will spend the following week.  [19:25] Atypical expenses are common in the sense that they happen a lot of the time, but then they are uncommon because it is not the same thing repeated over time so people don’t think they will happen again.  [22:20] If the person you are thinking of is similar to you then it could be helpful to think of their spending. It could help you gain perspective on your spending.  [24:59] To make more accurate expense predictions they prompt people to consider a handful of reasons why their expenses will be different than usual. This helps them think of those atypical expenses and increases prediction accuracy.  [26:23] So far, they have people type out the reason that their budget could be atypical. Writing it down may help because it takes a load off your working memory. [29:00] They were motivated to do budgeting research because

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
139 Ratings

139 Ratings

Cam Kelly (future DC) ,

Wealth of knowledge

Up and coming business owner here! I’ve been listening to your podcast for quite awhile now and have loved every minute of it (except the long introductions that I always skip past, sorry just being honest 🤷🏿‍♂️). Thank you for shedding light on so many different topics. I have complied a long list of strategies to help me on my future business thanks to you! I have been extrapolating the knowledge bombs to incorporate them for chiropractic office success when the time comes.

In one of your last episodes I heard the mention of you working with vets, chiropractors and other medical providers in the past. Can you share an episode related to these fields? I would love to hear some insight on how you helped them. I just might need you in my corner when I open up practice 🙌

Thanks for everything you’re doing!

Cameron Kelly
(Future business owner)

ratsofNIMH ,

She’s brilliant!

Melina Palmer knows as much about behavioral science as anyone on earth (she’s a professor who runs a behavioral science program), and she makes the topic so much fun! Great questions and I wish I could have had her as a teacher!

Roberto Font ,

Beyond Impressed

Well, I have got to say, I am impressed with the work Melina Palmer has done. She is very meticulous in detail with her explanations and I'm seeing the things that she explains on the podcast in my day to day life. That quality of work should not be available for free, but I'm glad she provides it.

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