Ep. 6 - The psychology of scarcity during the coronavirus w/ Kelly Goldsmith

By Quikly

This is the sixth episode of Market with Me Quikly -- a podcast to inform, educate and assist B2C marketers in doing their jobs just a little bit better. By now, you're well aware the coronavirus has affected the way we live our lives. The fear of a pandemic and mandates to stay home has undoubtedly changed consumer behavior. And if you've been grocery shopping in the last few weeks, you've probably seen a few empty shelves, maybe even empty aisles. That certain products, specifically toilet paper, have been hard to come by. Because people have been stocking up on items that they perceive as scarce, stores like Kroger have put limitations on the number people can buy. We wanted to know: why are consumers responding like this? So we called Dr. Kelly Goldsmith.  Dr. Goldsmith is a behavioral scientist who examines consumers’ responses to uncertainty and scarcity, uncovering and explaining seemingly paradoxical effects. In one line of research, for instance, she finds that incentives of uncertain value can be just as motivating as incentives of guaranteed high value. In another body of work, she shows that resource scarcity (a state of uncertainty) can lead consumers to be more generous, not just more selfish. She also demonstrates that associating a brand with innovation can actually reduce consumers’ interest in the brand’s products, because buyers associate innovation with uncertainty. She has dedicated herself to this area because marketers must understand how consumers respond to uncertainty in order to understand and predict consumer behavior. Dr. Goldsmith began her research program as a doctoral student in marketing at Yale University, where her research on self-regulation integrated behavioral decision theory with goal theory. After receiving her doctorate, Dr. Goldsmith joined the Kellogg School of Management as an Assistant Professor of Marketing. At Kellogg, she received multiple honors and awards for both her research and teaching. In 2017, she joined the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt as an Associate Professor of Marketing. She publishes regularly in top marketing and psychology journals, and is currently serving on the editorial review boards of three major marketing journals: the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing Research and the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

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