Bluecore News Introducing Bluecore Explore Summit Keynote Speaker, Kit Yarrow, Ph.D.

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By Sarah Cascone

A few weeks ago, we announced Bluecore’s 2nd Annual Explore Summit, an invite-only, one-day gathering of senior-level digital marketers taking place in New York City on September 15th. As we get closer to the event, we’re excited to share our second keynote speaker, Kit Yarrow, Ph.D., an award-winning consumer research psychologist, professor, author and consultant. Kit’s unique ability to apply clinical psychology to business issues has won her four endowed research professorships and recognition as the 2012 Outstanding Scholar of Golden Gate University.

In her keynote presentation, Yarrow will discuss how the use of technology has changed the psychology of consumers and what that means for marketers.

As a preview to her keynote, here are a few of many great insights from Yarrow…

On our individualistic society: People are less motivated by what other people have today than they have been in the past. For the first time ever, they want to be the one to discover something, to have something that’s a little more niche. There’s this craving to be unique. We’re less motivated by “Keeping up with the Joneses” than we are the treasure hunt of finding something special. We’re a much more individualistic society than collectivistic. Standing out through having something unique is getting to be a much more effective way to tapping into consumer needs than telling them, “Everybody else has this so you should too.” (From Ethan Bearman)

On guilt: There are a lot of things we get from shopping and buying that we like to guilt ourselves for. Wanting things is absolutely normal and healthy. If we go back to caveman days, we find that trading in the marketplace was a favored activity and that mummies are buried with products. People have always enjoyed products, so in some ways, nothing has changed.

On lingering effects of the recession: The recession taught people that if they wait, they can win the game of chicken with retailers. There’s always been this, “Who’s going to give up first?” Can consumers hang in there long enough until retailers really slash those prices? All that collapsed during the recession and retailers pretty much gave up and started giving consumers big bargains. That changed the psychology of purchasing and made consumers really feel like they deserved a big discount.

On consumer trust: Consumers don’t trust organizations. Consumers rely on other consumers to understand if something is believable or if a product is worth having. They’re using social media, using ratings and reviews, using YouTube channels. They’re using all of these ways of learning about products through people they perceive to be like them rather than through push messaging. Companies buying ads saying “This is what our product is all about. Please believe us and buy it” doesn’t work anymore. Today what’s more effective is when people learn about products from their friends or people they perceive to be like them. Hearing those voices through digital communication has become a primary way for consumers to come to trust and want products.

On consumer satisfaction: I very commonly run across consumers that have clothing they may not have even worn yet, or that they wear really infrequently. A lot of times it’s something they got on sale. Once the thrill of getting it at a cheap price wears off, they realize that it doesn’t really fit in with their lifestyle, or maybe they didn’t really like it that much, so they buy more. Part of it is that they’re never really satisfied because they didn’t get exactly what they wanted, so they keep shopping, looking for the right thing. But the other part of it is that a lot of times they’re just looking for that feeling of the win again and they’re more focused on how much money they’re saving than how much money they’re spending. (From

On holiday shopping: Consumers do spend a lot during the holiday season, and it’s for a couple of reasons. It’s kind of a huge time of the year for self-gifting, and that’s because consumers have been trained in the past few years to anticipate big bargains. They’ll put off big purchases for their home or for themselves until they feel like they’re getting the best variety and the best prices of the year. I think people also just can’t resist some of the doorbuster deals and the frenzy feeling of shopping that comes along with the holidays. Retailers have really become very masterful at offering up discounts that feel very enticing to consumers and the temptation is just more than a lot of people can handle.

For more on Yarrow’s research, we highly recommend her two books, Gen BuY: How Tweens, Teens and Twenty-Somethings are Revolutionizing Retail, and Decoding the New Consumer Mind, which was named one of the top ten marketing books of 2014 by Inc. Magazine.

kit yarrow

Interested in attending? Learn more about the Explore Summit and request an invite here.

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