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The Reality Distortion Field, finally, has been located

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 

Hi all, I think this article is pretty interesting, in terms of understanding buying preferences. 

 

http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/10/weve-located-the-reality-distortion-field-and-its-in-the-consumers-brain/?comments=1#comments-bar

 

In a gist:

 

The Reality Distortion Field exists inside the consumer mind.

 

Some people show a stronger preference for products that explain the technical aspects. 

 

For others, "the added details expose their existing understanding as shallow, which leaves them disappointed." 

 

So, while both groups want to know some details about what they're buying, some prefer "more complex explanations, while those for whom thinking things through had a lower appeal ended up preferring the shallow explanation"

 

I guess this explains a lot of consumer preferences, and why some products sell better (both for audio and consumer electronics, why apple advertising works, apple vs android etc.)

 

What do you guys think? Does it hold in the Audiophile context ?


Edited by proton007 - 10/28/12 at 6:39pm
post #2 of 54

Nothing really surprising here. Informed people want specifics and can tell when the manufacturer is BSing them (e.g. frequency response range is a useless metric). Uninformed people don't want to think anything through and believe the claims on the box are true. Also, they're much more susceptible to the bandwagon fallacy, since they're at least passingly aware that they're not savvy and therefore trust a strong voice or consensus to tell them what they should buy, even if that voice isn't actually telling them anything useful.

post #3 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyris View Post

Uninformed people don't want to think anything through and believe the claims on the box are true. 

 

I guess the magic is not in the detail, but how much detail.

 

You want customers to feel smart, just giving them enough to make the decision, while keeping anything else that needs a better understanding, under the wraps.

 

So essentially, give the truth, but never the complete truth.

 

This is where a lot of companies falter I guess.

post #4 of 54

Pretty much. You can list all the typical meaningless tech jargon, and people can interpret that any way they like, even if that interpretation is completely wrong. You can also present it using methodology that favors your product or covers up for weaknesses, and most people wouldn't know any better. All they see is that dense list of techy-looking stuff, that obligatory "DC to daylight" frequency response range, and they figure that's enough. Theoretically you've told them some of the truth, but not the whole truth.

 

But it always comes back to marketing. You could put absolutely no technical specifications on a box whatsoever, and if you get attractive people to endorse and use your product, and if you box it up pretty and put some guff about "large-wave drivers" and "concert hall sound quality" and "hear the music the way studio technicians do" on there, most people will scoop it up in point four of a femtosecond without a second thought.


Edited by Argyris - 10/28/12 at 10:55pm
post #5 of 54

this is very obvious in the android vs apple war
apple style ads: 2 X faster than before, better than ever before camera, the all new apple maps, all new siri, retina display, best screen you will ever get in your iphone, sitrling metallic, over 200 new features, an experience you will never forget, LTE is 2Xfaster than your standard WIFI
android style ads: HDMI output, Android Jellybean 4.1. 4.8" HD display, quad core 1.6ghz microprocessor, slim design, made for humans, 2600 mAh battery, able to detect up to 5 touch points on the screen, has google integration, seemless updates, project butter 
 


Edited by streetdragon - 10/28/12 at 11:03pm
post #6 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by streetdragon View Post

this is very obvious in the android vs apple war
apple style ads: 2 X faster than before, better than ever before camera, the all new apple maps, all new siri, retina display, best screen you will ever get in your iphone, sitrling metallic, over 200 new features, an experience you will never forget, LTE is 2Xfaster than your standard WIFI
android style ads: HDMI output, Android Jellybean 4.1. 4.8" HD display, quad core 1.6ghz microprocessor, slim design, made for humans, 2600 mAh battery, able to detect up to 5 touch points on the screen, has google integration, seemless updates, project butter 
 

 

That's an excellent point. I guess you try to target the demographic where you feel like your product will do the best, or else court a demographic that is ignored by the market leader.

post #7 of 54
Thread Starter 

Exactly^

 

I never really realized how the users felt, going by the advertised points of each device, I can clearly see the diff.

 

Even more surprising is the fact that a majority of the population tends to go for option 1. So I guess the majority of us are not really interested in the internals?

post #8 of 54

Right again. Most people either don't have the time, or the will, or the intelligence (rarely the third, to most people's credit) to be concerned about internals and comparisons and stuff. They just want it to work. The people who care about that stuff are usually either the engineers who actually design the stuff, or else just general geeks who are interested in that kind of stuff.

 

Here's an audio example:

 

In the glory days of audio the marketing was all about the fidelity. Since this stuff was quite expensive, the only people who would seriously consider buying it were those who would be able to evaluate it on its technical merit. Therefore the marketing was aimed at offering them the best performance possible.

 

Fast forward to today. You can buy a cheapo mp3 player for $20 and a pair of headphones for $5. You have literally thousands of choices. The price of entry is so low that basically anybody can afford to buy something. The audio market is exponentially larger than it was back then, and it contains mostly unsophisticated buyers who, unlike the small group of enthusiasts above, really can't tell the difference between good sound and bad. Whereas in the previous scenario the technically-minded were basically 100% of the sample, in the modern scenario they're a tiny fraction of 1%, if that. The initial price barrier created an artificially large concentration of savvy and discerning buyers, and the marketing and general product quality were shaped by this.

 

Nowadays you don't have to give most people very much performance to keep them happy, so the marketing and general product quality are radically different (and much lower in the latter case). And, sadly enough, you now have people with disposable income who want to appear as though they're savvy and discerning, and you can market a poorly-engineered and cheap to manufacture product at them and they'll lap it up, giving you maximum profits. Why spend money making it durable or good-sounding? Instead, create a desirable product image, based on fuzzy claims and marketing guff, and let the bux stream in. Paradoxically, this only works when you make the product unreasonably expensive, since people sense they are buying prestige and cachet.

 

What they're doing is wasting their money.

post #9 of 54
Thread Starter 

So true. confused_face.gif

 

And it seems not many are willing to take the time to even learn. Frankly, I find it a bit disturbing from a future perspective. I just hope we have enough engineers left.

post #10 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

So true. confused_face.gif

 

And it seems not many are willing to take the time to even learn. Frankly, I find it a bit disturbing from a future perspective. I just hope we have enough engineers left.

people cannot feel the impact of the experience when you say eg 350 ppi display(thats extremely clear) but they feel it more if you call it as a retina display which has more pixels than you eye has receptors, this is because the customers can relate to something and feel the impact of the advertisement.

also another example i thought up of someone wants to buy a fast car and is offered 2 choices
car A can take off so fast your neck might break and your head might fall off
or
car B can take off so fast it does 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds

kind of objective vs flowery subjective, where the informed will take the latter and the uninformed will take the former 

post #11 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by streetdragon View Post

people cannot feel the impact of the experience when you say eg 350 ppi display(thats extremely clear) but they feel it more if you call it as a retina display which has more pixels than you eye has receptors, this is because the customers can relate to something and feel the impact of the advertisement.

also another example i thought up of someone wants to buy a fast car and is offered 2 choices
car A can take off so fast your neck might break and your head might fall off
or
car B can take off so fast it does 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds

kind of objective vs flowery subjective, where the informed will take the latter and the uninformed will take the former 

 

I had a recent discussion with a friend about the so called "Retina" display. 

My argument was that at a certain distance, every display is unresolvable. So its also a function of viewing distance along with the PPI. Also, look at E-Ink, which still gives the effect of paper while being low res.

He seemed to be totally convinced the "Retina" display is the only true paper-like display.

post #12 of 54
Thread Starter 
post #13 of 54

I know we aren't allowed to discuss politics, but from the title of this thread I thought it would be about the presidential debates.


Edited by grokit - 10/29/12 at 12:45am
post #14 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by grokit View Post

I know we aren't allowed to discuss politics, but from the title of this thread I thought it would be about the presidential debates.

 

Hmmm...I wasn't aware of any such connection. I felt the term is mostly used when referencing tech firms.

post #15 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

 

I had a recent discussion with a friend about the so called "Retina" display. 

My argument was that at a certain distance, every display is unresolvable. So its also a function of viewing distance along with the PPI. Also, look at E-Ink, which still gives the effect of paper while being low res.

He seemed to be totally convinced the "Retina" display is the only true paper-like display.

that sounds disturbingly similar to the following statement:
He seemed to be totally convinced that Beats headphones are the only high quality headphones available

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