one of the founders of Vocatus
Hardy Koth is one of the founders of Vocatus. He has worked in management consultancy and market research for over 15 years, and has wide-ranging experience derived from a multiplicity of projects in the areas of telecommunications, media, and the Internet. Prior to his membership of the board at Vocatus AG, he worked as a member of the management team at Booz Allen Hamilton.
Hardy Koth studied business management (Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration) at the University of Washington (Seattle) as well as at the University of Chicago (Master of Business Administration and Master of International Relations).
Vocatus is an internationally active, innovative consulting firm. We examine the business models of our customers, not from the isolated perspective of classic disciplines like product management, marketing or sales, but from the perspective of the consumer.
After all, the success of every company is based on decisions made by consumers for the products or services provided by that company. It is exactly this decision-making process that we want to understand. Behavioral Economics demonstrates that customers are predictably irrational decision makers.
Relying on our empirical consultation strategy, we help companies to understand the decisions their customers make and to influence them in their favor. This is the proven approach we use to improve the success of our customers.
In recent years, we specialized primarily in pricing research projects for which we have received numerous national and international awards. For example, we have twice won the global prize for the pricing project with the highest return on investment. Our services focus on decision makers who want to optimise their pricing strategy using valid empirical insights instead of rigid hypotheses and subjective assumptions. Problem-oriented solutions, concrete recommendations, and efficient implementation of results are the main focus of all our projects.
Our expertise covers a wide range of sectors, including Automotive, Telecommunications, Financial/Insurance Services, Tourism, Electronics, Media, Retail, Service Providers, Consulting, Energy, FMCG, Pharmaceuticals, Chemical Industry and NGOs. Our clients are primarily large European companies, for whom we conduct also international studies.
Many companies fail to earn the full value of their profits because their pricing strategy is not based on the actual value customers attribute to the product. Pricing studies can provide some help, but they are only the first step on the path to value-based pricing.
Every company wants to favorably influence customers' purchase decisions, which makes it all the more astonishing that hardly any attention is paid to what actually happens when customers make decisions – the purchase process itself. One usually assumes that one is dealing with rational consumers, yet studies relating to behavioral economics unmistakably demonstrate that people don't make rational decisions.
Florian Bauer and Hardy Koth, who are both experts in their field, explain how these insights can be transferred to companies and duly exploited. They develop a purchase decision model which has been tried and tested in practice, and which embraces irrational human behavior and thereby renders it predictable. They also demonstrate how behavioral economics thus enables quantum leaps in terms of turnover and profits.
Classic pricing tools implicitly build on the assumption that customers behave like the famous Homo economicus - perfectly informed, selfish and rational decision makers with stable preference. Tools like conjoint analysis, price sensitivity measurement and the like ignore a wealth of insights about human decision making. More critically, they are incapable of identifying profit potentials that are hidden beyond people's predictably irrational decisions.
Is the sole purpose of an employee survey to measure how satisfied your staff are? Not at all! Only by assessing their level of commitment can you deduce what actually needs to be changed.
Customer satisfaction surveys are jumping onto the "surveytainment" bandwagon: it's a nice idea, but one which is nonetheless incapable of truly resolving acceptance-related problems in this area of research.
Companies want to influence customers' purchase decisions – which makes it all the more astonishing that they still know so little about the actual course of decision processes, which "behavioural economics" has nonetheless been researching for over 40 years.
Mobilcom-debitel is the third largest provider of mobile phone contracts in Germany, yet consumers felt the company was small, and new business was sluggish. It was only when a comprehensive analysis of the customer structure was conducted that some surprising insights emerged, and this led to the company adopting a consistent new direction. Over a period of almost one year, management and the marketing department duly instigated the biggest branding revolution in the company’s history – and market research was a key factor in this.
When it comes to the topic of 'price image', people are often tempted to think "the cheaper the better", yet price image amounts to more than just the price-performance ratio. Other factors such as fairness, transparency or the price-utilisation ratio often have a far more crucial role to play.
What makes customers enthusiastic, and what disappoints them? Why do satisfied customers cancel contracts, and why do disappointed customers ultimately stick with their provider/supplier? In order to understand this often paradoxical behaviour, it's necessary to take a holistic look at the customer journey and analyse its dynamic. This promises insights into the customer relationship which go deeper than is possible with classic methods.
Is customer satisfaction measurement fundamentally in crisis? This question always arises if the satisfaction scores completely fail to reflect customers´ actual behaviour. So what´s going wrong?
This article takes a critical look at the usual procedures and assumptions and tries to show how customer satisfaction measurement can better meet the requirements that are made of it and once again place a stronger focus on customers and how they think and act.
The 'General Algorithm for Patching Conjoint Analyses' ('GAP' for short) is a general 'repair kit' for conjoint analyses that uses an appropriate design plus a few extra questions to ascertain valid correction values which can then be deployed to adjust the results. Distortions that arise as a result of the notoriously artificial conjoint survey situation can thus be efficiently corrected.
Finally – a typology that you can actually use! Matchmaker is an empirically based diagnosis and implementation instrument for aligning all of a company‘s activities with its customers‘ actual decision-making behaviour.
Many companies think that price cuts are indispensable in times of crisis. However, this can have disastrous long-term consequences for both brand and profits. It is more productive to analyse whether the crisis actually changes customer motivation, their reason for purchase, and price acceptance.
In order to understand consumers’ actual decision processes, one has to consider various pricing psychology factors. In order to achieve this, Vocatus designed an international baseline study which examined consumers’ behaviour according to sectors and types of product, thereby defining five different consumer types.
International market research studies often provide only superficial results, on the basis of which it is very difficult to deduce and implement possible improvements and individual recommendations for action. However, this tends to squander the immense potential offered by international studies.
We will show you how to unlock completely new margin potentials and significantly increase your profits in the process. Find out why it pays to finally say goodbye to the idea of the rational customer.
In theory, the desires of the customer should play a part in product development. In practice, this is rarely the case. We show how companies can successfully involve the customer in development. The result: more attractive products at lower cost.