When marketing your product, you need to make sure you don’t overload the potential customer with too many options. Have you ever walked into a shop and been hit with rows upon rows of the same product but with different brands, flavours and colours, all competing for your interest? Often enough, you will feel too overwhelmed and end up leaving with nothing. Too much choice can put off the customer, this works the same in marketing. The customer wants a clear choice so they can make a decisive decision. Make sure your message is clear and what you offer does not cloud the customer’s thoughts.
The Framing Effect
Wording is everything – how you word something can heavily influence someone’s feelings towards a product and commitment to the purchase.
For example, when marketing a product with reduced fat customers are more likely to purchase the cheese positioned as “98% free from fat” rather than a product being “only 2% fat”, even though it means the exact same thing. Products framed positively will sell better, regardless of the actual numbers.
The Endowment Effect
We tend to place a higher value on things we already own compared to things we don’t.
For example, changing rooms in clothing shops are, of course, there so you can essentially ‘try before you buy’. But there is a deeper meaning. Once we have tried that item of clothing on, it suddenly feels like we are the owner, you will find yourself in a situation where you struggle to leave without purchasing it, unless the item wasn’t for you.
This works the same in sales. When you are test driving a car, the salesman will do everything in his power to make you feel like you already own the car. This, in turn, makes you feel you have a stronger emotional connection to the item. You will feel a sense of loss leaving the car and not having purchased it, even though you were never the owner. And that’s how we make emotional purchases. Marketers make you feel like you will be missing out if you don’t buy now! It is in our nature to avoid loss at all costs – refer back to Part 1 on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, do you see the link?
If you were to sell your car, because it belongs to you, you’re likely to place a higher value on it, rather than what the buyer sees. However, if you were to see that exact same car but you were the potential buyer, the price you are willing to pay would be a great deal less that the other scenario.
This tactic is similar to the Endowment Effect. It is the emotion of feeling the negative effects of loss more strongly than we feel the positive effects of an equal gain.
Loss Aversion is used in marketing to evoke the same kind of emotion out of the potential customer. It taps into our survival instincts of not wanting to be left with loss, emphasising what you save rather than what you gain. Because us saving what we already have is more valuable than the possibility of gain which could result in loss.
This is done by the following:
– Framing the offer in terms of loss.
– Making it seem risky.
– Inspiring the fear of losing.
– Setting timeframes.
– Making it appear a of low availability.
Now you have a better understanding of this tactic, you will start to notice it everywhere. How about email subject lines like “Don’t delay” or “You don’t want to miss this”. Although innocent, it’s used to evoke a sense of Loss Aversion.
Studies have shown that the more we are exposed to something, the more we like it. Have you ever heard a song on the radio and took an instant dislike to it? Then, you hear it again and again and suddenly you don’t mind it that much. The song is now following you everywhere, right? Now you are starting to enjoy it. Then bam, it’s on your playlist!
How did that happen?! This is Mere Exposure at work!
Or perhaps, you’re walking through the shopping centre. You’re not feeling hungry at this particular time but you pass a bakery. Suddenly you feel a strong, intense need for a savoury treat. The distance between the want and the decision you make to go and fulfil that need (by purchasing it) is the distance a marketer needs to figure out!
Remember when you were looking for that holiday in sunny Spain or at those new running trainers? And just like magic it appears on your Facebook home page whilst scrolling! Need I say more…