Thought Leadership

5 Simple Ways to Apply Behavioral Science to Your Market Research Projects

September 5, 2023
Five Simple Ways to Apply Behavioral Science

Behavioral science (BeSci) is all about simplifying complex choices, so why do so many market researchers still perceive it to be a complicated subject that requires an advanced behavioral analysis degree to apply to their projects? Researchers are no stranger to scientific data and thinking. We forget that the insights industry was using behavioral science principles and theories long before BeSci buzz—great market research has always been rooted in finding and overcoming biases to provoke action!

Given that market research and behavioral science are aligned in so many ways with a similar set of core values, we set out to find a way to speed up the adoption of BeSci. We and our colleagues tapped into our experience in research, behavioral economics and experimental research design to develop five simple, digestible, and trustworthy ways to integrate BeSci across your insights workstreams with great success. We share our practical applications with you here, including specific examples that illustrate why it’s been both effective and inspiring to our clients.

Use behavioral science as a strong foundation for future growth

BeSci evidence and frameworks provide a roadmap to jumpstart brainstorming and help the transition from market research findings to tangible next steps. We often find these types of projects inspire quicker, more specific idea generation for what comes next, and those actions are generated with confidence knowing BeSci-informed considerations are backed by robust evidence. By combining client teams’ expertise with knowledge of validated BeSci frameworks, you can confidently workshop and test ideas, prioritize strategies, and implement solutions to foster adoption of products and ensure the learnings live on in your organization.

Pharmaceutical Case Study: See how we helped a major pharma company build a superior digital experience that HCPs want to use.

Magnify small details to unlock big changes in consumer behavior

BeSci models based on decades of research and meta-analysis provide the keys to drive behavior change potential. It’s important to take a comprehensive look at behavior change because it is not just about tapping into customer motivation to fuel action and inspire the willingness to try something new—it is fundamental in reducing barriers and friction and paving the road toward best outcomes. Sometimes, what seems like the smallest, most subtle detail uncovered in market research can be the best crack to wedge into to open the floodgates to change. The BeSci lens detects cracks and ensures that opportunities to encourage and enable change, big and small, are not overlooked.

Financial Services Case Study: See how we helped an insurance company design a plan that empowers customers to make positive health decisions.

Leverage behavioral science as a highly integrated, simplification tool

Using bite-sized content, simple language and clear implications, you can leverage BeSci to elevate (and not overcomplicate) key takeaways from your research. You can bring insights to life by weaving and connecting BeSci biases throughout the story and using them to anchor clients in recommendations that feel clearly integrated as opposed to being an afterthought. Of course, time is a luxury, so you need a team that executes BeSci analysis seamlessly within standard project timelines.

Health Case Study: See how we helped a health client improve engagement and inspire healthy behaviors by synthesizing their communication materials and reducing cognitive load.

Refine, don’t reinvent the wheel to infuse behavioral science

The power of BeSci is in the interpretation, not necessarily the “BeSci framework” the project plan originated with, so it’s important to let the research and voice of the customers take the lead while listening intently. BeSci is an additional lens used to interpret feedback, interrogate key findings, and ensure you cover your bases with a holistic perspective of behavior change. The best approach is not about reinventing the market research wheel but standing on the shoulders of tried-and-true best practices to unlock underlying factors that influence decision making, tap into to truths about human behavior, and elevate recommendations to take your research to the next level.

Pharmaceutical Case Study: See how the recognition of social / cultural norms helped our pharma client identify critical cultural differences that impact attitudes towards body image and weight loss.

Unify human behavior research with relatable experiences

While BeSci is grounded in theory and informed by academic experiments, articles and literature, it’s best to take a practical, human approach to applying it in a market research context. When you introduce principles through relatable examples to help cross-functional teams understand, internalize, and remember the theory, they leave the room nodding in agreement eager to take what they learn from the research and apply it to their everyday life. Giving clients a deeper understanding of human behavior and decision-making equips them with the context to empathize with customer beliefs, the terminology to describe customer behavior patterns, and the tools to connect with customers where they are today and nudge them toward a better tomorrow.

Consumer & Retail Case Study: See how we helped a retail client relate to and immerse themselves in the hearts and minds of their shoppers to improve in-store display design and buying ease.

If you need help getting started, reach out to us to learn how Escalent’s behavioral research scientists can help you simplify and evangelize behavioral science in your organization. We look forward to hearing from you!


Want to learn more? Let’s connect.

To learn more about our BeSci research practice and how we can help you integrate it across your insights workstreams, please contact us.

Allie Dautrich
Allie Dautrich
Insights Consultant, Health & Life Sciences

Allie Dautrich is an insight and behavioral science consultant in Escalent’s Health & Life Sciences group. Allie brings eight years of experience working with global pharmaceutical market research clients and an academic background in applied behavioral economics and experimental research design. She has a passion for translating academic theory into practical considerations to elevate our analysis for healthcare brands. Allie leverages her knowledge of biases, heuristics, and behavior change frameworks to link your insights to broader human psychological truths, allowing us to provide evidence-based recommendations to optimize communication and product uptake. Outside of working hours, Allie enjoys climbing and hiking the mountains of North Carolina and travelling to new cities to explore new neighborhoods and restaurants.

Courtney Kerwin
Courtney Kerwin
Vice President, Health & Life Sciences

Courtney Kerwin is a vice president in Escalent's Health & Life Sciences group. She has more than a decade of experience as a consultant helping pharmaceutical and biotech companies of all shapes and sizes address key business questions leveraging data and insights. Her experience spans the product lifecycle from early-stage opportunity assessment to launch and beyond, and across therapeutic areas including immunology, neurology, oncology, respiratory, and rare disease. She's passionate about creating new custom solutions with her clients and ensuring the customer voice is at the heart of strategic decisions. Courtney resides in beautiful Boulder, Colorado with her husband and two little boys who keep her very busy outside of Escalent.