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Wilde Agency Releases Research Study on Behavioral Economics

Boston, MA, October 08, 2015 --( Wilde Agency, a nationally recognized agency and a pioneer in the use of the science of human behavior in marketing, today announced the completion of a commissioned research study designed to understand consumer motivations and behaviors to inform marketing strategy. Several key industries, across two generational groups, were included in the study. The research was conducted with Sentient Decision Science, a consulting firm specializing in innovative research, program planning, evaluation, and communications. Insights were revealed through the power of Wilde Agency’s and Sentient’s expertise in Behavioral Economics principles. Behavioral Economics explores why people sometimes make irrational decisions, and why and how their behavior does not always follow the predictions of economic models.

A key part of the study was focused on Boomers – adults between the age of 51 and 69 – and how to motivate them to alter their purchase of Long-Term Care Insurance and Medicare Supplement Insurance.

Key findings include:
· The Temporal Discounting Behavioral Economics principle motivated Boomers to buy more expensive LTC insurance overcoming the “set it and forget it” mentality).
· Language that helps people see themselves in the future is effective in overcoming the purchase-delaying effects of Temporal Discounting, and increases the preference for higher premium coverage.
· Boomers strongly associate attributes such as useful, calm, relieving and relevant with both Medicare Supplement Insurance and Long-Term Care insurance.
· The Mental Accounting Behavioral Economics principle (which refers to a person’s tendency to bucket money based on its intended use) prompts Boomers to view Medicare Supplement Insurance as more confidence inspiring, and helps them reframe and justify its cost.

Within the research, Wilde Agency tested the principle of Mental Accounting among a select group (405) of Boomers to determine what could influence their behavior with respect to purchasing Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans. Wilde’s hypothesis was such that by reframing purchase categories as discrete expenditures, they could create new “expenditure buckets” in Boomers’ minds that help to justify the cost - in this case, the purchase of a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan that they might not have made otherwise.

“When you frame Medicare costs in a separate ‘expenditure bucket’ that is different from a retirement fun account, for example, and associate certain positive emotions with it, it more strongly resonates with people and increases purchase intent,” said Lianne Wade, VP Customer Insights at Wilde Agency. “We can use this information to inform marketing for our insurance clients – for example, moving perceptions from ‘healthcare costs add up’ to ‘Medicare Supplement plans keep more money in your retirement fun account to do the things you really enjoy.’”

The agency tested ways to overcome the principle of Temporal Discounting (delay discounting) with respect to Long-Term Care insurance. Temporal discounting is our tendency to want things now rather than later. For example, getting $10 today is more important than getting $20 a month from today. The insurance communications can be framed in ways that offset the effect of Temporal Discounting, causing respondents to place higher value on the distant benefits of insurance and changing their path to purchase.

“Wilde Agency is practicing at the cutting edge of marketing, and this research reveals more of its valuable insights for clients,” said Aaron Reid, Ph.D. Chief Behavioral Scientist, Sentient Decision Science. “Simple, yet precise modifications to the language used to describe the situation, risks and benefits related to insurance and investment decisions can significantly increase product consideration and likelihood to purchase. Wilde designed true A/B behavioral economics tests, employed the most advanced quantitative decision-making models, and observed significant differences in consumer choice behavior. Given the scientific experimental design, we can attribute causality to the specific behavioral economics-based copy changes. This work represents a significant thought leadership investment and position in the application of behavioral science to marketing by Wilde Agency.”

Research Methodology
Wilde Agency and Sentient Decision Science conducted a quantitative online survey, which utilized implicit and choice-based conjoint research methods, in addition to emotional attributes weighting to the choice-based conjoint outcomes, to uncover novel insights into emotions and key triggers that are the drivers of consumer choice and action.

Eyetracking was an additional component to the study, which is a high-performance, real-time eye gaze monitoring with results presented in heat maps that represent attention, or time-sequenced gaze plots that reveal viewing sequence.

This integrated approach has been proven in a variety of studies to provide improved predictive validity, compared with traditional modeling approaches.

About Wilde Agency
Wilde Agency is an award-winning integrated marketing agency that harnesses the science of human behavior to drive action and transform businesses in a digital world. The full-service agency offers strategy, customer insight, data/analytics, creative and production across all channels.

For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

About Sentient Decision Science
Sentient is a globally recognized pioneer in the development of advanced implicit research technology that taps the consumer subconscious and quantifies the impact of emotion on choice. The technologies are coupled with deep knowledge of behavioral economics, the essence of emotional branding, and quantitative models of the drivers of human behavior to provide deep insight and actionable results for our clients.

Read more at or follow Sentient on Twitter: @SentientInsight

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