How did I come up with Behavioural Economics?

Let’s start from the beginning. I am a social media consultant (strategy, content, ads) and a blogger. My journey in the digital world started in 1994. I had to do a piece of homework and I decided to use the Internet to do it. In those years, there was no Wikipedia or Google.

I had to find a computer, usually a UNIX workstation, and a connection to the internet. Usually, you would find internet connection at universities.

I was very lucky and found both of them at the same time. It was a Sun Microsystem workstation with a web browser. I visited and Time magazine welcomed me with ‘What is your subscription number?’

So, the story went on year after year. I started to work at a university as a research assistant. The internet became a part of our lives, and social media started to emerge. I started to use Twitter around 2007 as an early adopter and it was only a small bunch of people who were using it. At the same time, I had a Nokia smartphone (although it wasn’t that smart). So, my mobile browsing and app experience started around that time.

As I loved the automotive industry and wished to write about cars, I started to blog about cars, fashion and life style (cars & life) in late-2009. It started as a hobby and within two months, I got a massive client for strategy development — Mercedes-Benz Turkey.

Then I realised that my hobby of using the internet and tweeting could become a job!

The social media penetration of real life was out of control, and I was caught in the centre of this trend.

A few years later, I came to the UK to read for a PhD degree in marketing at the University of Birmingham. The subject was why people generate a tendency to talk about brands and how to measure it. So, I started the PhD, but had to downgrade to a MSc Research degree.

When there is research attached a degree, it’s not easy, believe me!

I read lots of papers about consumer behaviour, branding and behavioural economics. As I graduated with a BA in economics, it was really exciting to read a contrasting approach to the neo-classic economy (the one we have now aka your mortgage).

However, I couldn’t use the behavioural economics papers in my research and it was a bit sad.

During the writing-up stage of my research degree (they give you a writing-up time for such degrees), I became an entrepreneur (I always wanted an office job) and a freelancer. As you might imagine, it is my current job, that of social media consultant.

During my freelancing journey since early-2013, I have worked for more than 20 companies, from global enterprises to startups. Shoe designers to luxury candle brands. Also, I was caught up with the trend of renewables! I have the skill set to understand if a LED light is flickering or not :) They were all exciting and are still exciting!

Unfortunately, I have seen some sad endings as well. Then I became curious and tried to find out what was wrong with all those businesses. I think I have had this habit of looking for solutions to problems from birth, and now apply it to the business scenarios that I have experienced.

Let’s go back to businesses! Their product was great, marketing was working well! However, they never asked the customers what they were looking for.

The most important element of the equation — the customers — is ignored! At the end of the day, it is the customers who will be buying their products. The products should be the solution to their problems or to how they achieve their goal!

So, I went back to my research studies and started to read more and try to understand how I could decode the consumer decision making process.

When I approached this subject, I ended up with behavioural economics again. We all make decisions many times per day, and we always rationalise our decisions although mostly they are irrational. Unfortunately, the human mind doesn’t work like a computer or a mechanical machine. That’s why we buy things we really don’t need, or that are beyond our budget. However, we always rationalise the purchasing decision!

I started to implement behavioural economics with regard to social media more than two years ago. I read many papers and theories on this subject. After all this reading, I have ended up with Daniel Kahneman’s decision making theory. He won a Nobel prize for this!

It was at that moment that I realised why all those companies failed with their products. The communication with the customers never explained how that product would solve a problem or achieve a goal. The product was placed in limbo inside the consumer’s mind.

To change this perception, I went back to behavioural economics tactics and Young & Rubicam’s seven types of people segmentation. And it was at that moment that everything started to work together very smoothly!

After the excitement of that moment of success, I started to apply this approach to my clients. The results were ‘way better than before. Even Facebook’s advertisement quality metric, Relevance Score, was boosted to the top!

So why did I get into this hassle? Isn’t it easier to keep the old business going and make money? Yes, that’s correct. However, I was always impressed with those companies which push to the limits and try to do something better than before. Like the Formula 1 teams, car and technology companies. They have to do the same thing better and more efficiently all the time to keep up with the competition. I applied the same rule to my business dealings, and my academic background helped me to achieve this.

I hope you have a clear idea as to how I came up with this service for this price rate. And it will be even better six months from now.

UX Designer and Behavioural Economist