The importance of behavioural science for product development

Consumer behaviour does not always follow a logical or rational thought process. This unpredictability makes it difficult to ensure product success. By utilising behavioural science methodologies during product research, you can better understand and accommodate intuitive consumer behaviour. 

Continue reading to discover the importance of behavioural science when making data-driven product development and marketing decisions. 

What is behavioural science?

Behavioural science is a branch of research that focuses on understanding human behaviour and decision-making processes. It aims to investigate not just people’s intentions but their real-life actions and the reasons behind them. 

Researchers have discovered that there are numerous factors which influence human behaviour — even seemingly irrational behaviour. Some common factors include context, social and cultural influences, emotions, biases and heuristics (also called rules of thumb).

Who uses behavioural science?

Behavioural science can be applied to many different fields. This in-depth research is conducted by members of diverse social science backgrounds, including anthropologists, sociologists, behavioural economists and psychologists. 

Particularly relevant to product development and marketing, behavioural economics can help supplement traditional economic theories. By relying on an interdisciplinary approach, behavioural science aims to better understand the psychology behind “irrational” economic decisions.

What are System 1 and 2 responses in behavioural science?

Behavioural researchers have discovered that humans generally rely upon quick, intuitive responses when making personal and professional decisions. Commonly referred to as System 1 responses, these tactics are easier and more efficient than deliberate System 2 responses.  

Here is an overview of the main differences between System 1 and 2 responses.

System 1 responses

  • Used between 95% and 98% of the time 
  • Relies upon unconscious and intuitive thinking
  • Provides fast responses
  • Requires minimal mental effort

System 2 responses

  • Used between 5% and 2% of the time
  • Relies upon deliberate and rational thinking
  • Provides slower responses
  • Requires intense mental effort

What is the role of behavioural research in product development?

Behavioural research helps improve product development by providing a comprehensive understanding of consumer behaviour. This process relies upon psychological principles to explore how consumers interact with specific products and the reasons behind this. 

Businesses can then apply this knowledge via behavioural product design and marketing processes. This involves using consumer behaviour data to optimise idea generation, product design, and marketing efforts. 

Benefits of behavioural science for product development

You now have a greater understanding of what behavioural science is and how it can be used to enhance product intelligence solutions. However, it’s important to investigate the benefits of using behavioural science to inform your product development strategy and marketing techniques. 

Here is an overview of some of the most common advantages. 

Better consumer and market insights

Conducting target market research to gather initial feedback about a product concept is always useful. A product development team can use insights from potential customers to gauge interest in a specific product and inform development decisions. 

However, unlike its traditional counterpart, behavioural research does not solely focus on customer feedback. Instead, it explores the factors which influence consumers’ behaviour and decision-making processes. 

This comprehensive examination provides more robust consumer and market research data. These advanced insights are extremely valuable and can be used to guide product strategy, marketing and design. Implementing behavioural research methods leads to enhanced consumer data insights that help you take your product development process to the next level. 

Data-driven product design and marketing

When it comes to gathering valuable research data to enhance your understanding, behavioural science provides unparalleled consumer and market insights. Functioning similarly to conventional business analysis solutions, this research process works to identify shortcomings and facilitate solutions to increase a product’s success.

With behavioural research, your product team no longer needs to rely on assumptions for product strategy and design. They can use behavioural consumer insights to make data-driven design and product development decisions. This informed process is a major contributing factor to product innovation and success. 

Product-Based Solutions

By creating an appealing product-based solution that is based on real-life consumer behaviour trends, you can effectively engage potential buyers and target their pain points This enables you to better meet customer needs and leads to an increase in customer experience and satisfaction. 

For example, user interface (UI) designers can use behavioural research to enhance their understanding of how consumers interact with a digital product and process information. They can then implement this knowledge to create appealing, user-friendly and intuitive product interfaces and include useful product features. This thoughtful design process will boost user experience and encourage more consumers to engage with the product 

Targeted Marketing Efforts

Alongside product development, behavioural research is also extremely important for marketing. Most purchase decisions involve System 1 responses. By having a comprehensive understanding of the factors which influence these responses, you can tailor your marketing strategy to increase its effectiveness. 

This process involves adjusting marketing tactics to appeal to customers’ System 1 intuition (rather than their System 2 rationality) for an increase in sales.

Agile product development

Considering the value of behavioural data for product development, it makes sense to take maximum advantage of it with agile innovation. Based on agile software development principles, this methodology involves micro-testing your product at all stages of the product development process. 

Product development life cycle

Many development cycles include the following steps.

  1. Ideation. Brainstorm concepts and conduct consumer and market research to facilitate idea generation. 
  2. Validation. Conduct qualitative and quantitative research to test the consumer response to your product and conduct a feasibility analysis. 
  3. Prototyping. Engage in concept development by creating and testing low-fidelity prototypes or wireframes. 
  4. Marketing. Create a targeted marketing strategy and develop ways to measure the success of your advertising efforts. 
  5. Development. Validate your design and test marketing strategies with a minimum viable product before building your actual product.
  6. Launch. Have a product launch to share your finished product with the public. 
  7. Improvement. Track analytics and user feedback about your existing product and continue making improvements.  

Benefits of agile innovation

When exploring an agile approach, it is important to note the following benefits and features.

  • Save time. An agile approach allows you to validate your product during the early stages of the development process. This means you can make the necessary changes to develop a successful finished product as soon as possible. 
  • Save money. Agile product validation helps reduce the risk of having to make expensive changes towards the end stages of a new product development cycle. This increases ROI and helps facilitate a lean product development process.
  • Continuous improvement. Especially useful for new product development, agile innovation involves the creation of a feedback loop. This enables you to continuously test a product with your target market and generate iterations based on the feedback you receive. 
  • Streamline focus. Behavioural product validation relies upon insights from actual users. This enables development teams to take a consumer-centric approach and create products that effectively target real-life pain points.
  • Ensure relevance. By gathering consumer feedback throughout the phases of a product development process, you can keep up-to-date with changes in consumer behaviour and market trends. This helps you design relevant products that effectively meet consumer wants and needs. 

Access robust scientific data with Vypr’s product intelligence platform

Vypr is the world’s leading product intelligence platform, allowing you to understand rapidly changing consumer behaviour through fast, cost-effective consumer insight.

The importance of behavioural science lies in its ability to help you better understand how consumers make decisions. This comprehensive knowledge enables you to enhance your product development and marketing strategy. 

Want to see the benefits of scientific consumer insights for yourself? Try Vypr for free and receive robust data to enhance your product innovation.