Tracking, predicting, or measuring change in human behavior is often the goal of market research. We frequently want to know what people do, how they spend their money, or who they vote for. While understanding attitudes, perceptions, and other precursors to behavior is important because they are the avenues to persuasion, sometimes our focus on measuring these antecedents detours attention from our primary question: what do people do?
Measuring behavior can be expensive and time consuming, which begs the question—When can we use other measurements, such as previous behavior or behavioral intention, to substitute for measuring actual behavior? This three-part series will explore the opportunities and challenges of measuring behavior.