Monday, July 15, 2019

Persuade Seniors with Old Ad Models

For maximum persuasive effect of an ad, the type of product or service being advertised should influence how old the models appear to be. Another consideration is how old the intended audiences for the ad feel themselves to be.
     Researchers at Université Paris and Brest Business School explored what factors are important when choosing to use models who appear to be elderly adults. Here are my tips, based on their findings plus evidence from other studies:
  • Show seniors as having benefited from the wisdom gained through a long life. They could be advising other characters who are included in the ad, or they could be making recommendations directly to the viewers of the ad. 
  • Avoid the ad being somber unless it deals with an unequivocally serious topic, such as funeral arrangements. Even ads regarding significant health problems will benefit from the senior model being presented with a humorous or sentimental touch. 
  • Keep the clothing and the behavior of the senior model roughly appropriate to the model’s apparent age. Elderly viewers and readers might wish they were somewhat younger, and almost every elderly adult says they feel younger than their calendar age. For these reasons, presenting the senior model in clothing associated with a slightly younger age than they otherwise appear and as engaging in behavior associated with a somewhat younger age can earn positive attention. But a large discrepancy corrodes the overall credibility of the ad, so fails to do an adequate job of selling. 
  • Senior citizen viewers favor ads, and consequently what’s being featured in the ads, when the ads show the senior as part of a family group. It’s also persuasive to center the ad around an important happy event, such as a birthday, a graduation, or a vacation. This works because the positive associations spread to the item being advertised. However, this doesn’t operate nearly as well when a series of ads all indicate the senior’s identity is limited to family member. Change it up by also showing the protagonist as a skilled volunteer for a charity or a traveler on an educational journey, for instance. Similarly, in at least some ads, show the senior actually consuming the entity being advertised. Elderly adults like to be reminded of the variety of roles they still feel capable of playing. Included in that is the role of consumer. After all, people of every age are, by nature, consumers. 
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Monday, July 8, 2019

Remind Seniors How You Informed Them

With advancing age come increasing tendencies for consumers to forget where they learned helpful information as well as to forget how helpful the information was. To maintain in the minds of seniors your continuing value as a persuasion agent, correct for the fleeting of these memories. On follow-up contacts, ask your elderly clients the reasons why they made the decisions they did. Listen for answers claiming, “Oh, I knew that already,” when the accurate answers would indicate, “You told me something I didn’t already know.” In the same way, spot answers claiming, “I knew that was going to happen,” when the accurate answer would indicate, “You got it right when you predicted the consequences.”
     Researchers at Trinity College, College of Charleston, and University of Toronto, all in Canada, confirmed findings about forgetting the source when it comes to factual information. For instance, one statement in the study was, “About four hours are required to boil an ostrich egg.” Older adults could remember the fact as well as younger adults but were inferior in recalling which of two individuals—either a man or a woman in the study—had read the statement to them. This was true even though the recall test was administered less than half an hour after the reading of the statements and the researchers conducted the study during what was thought best for memory skills in each age group. Participants aged 19 to 25 years old were assessed during a 12:00 to 5:00 PM block. For the participants aged 61 to 75 years old, an 8:00 to 11:00 AM block was used.
     This source forgetting effect has importance beyond selling in the store or office. It applies to media persuasion as well. Who told it to us? Did we read it in a political flier or in an editorial from a newspaper we trust? Maybe it was on TV, but did it come in the TV program itself or in one of the flashy commercials?
     Researchers at University of Düsseldorf and Max Planck Institute for Human Development documented that hindsight bias is greater in older than in younger consumers. Hindsight bias occurs when consumers overestimate the extent to which they believe, after having had an experience, that they’d been able to predict the experience. Hindsight bias leads seniors to devalue the advice they’d been given since the seniors believe they could have figured it out themselves.

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Monday, July 1, 2019

Muse Seeming Museum-Like in Your Store

I’ll guess that “museological” is not a word you promptly recognize as a technique for displaying retail items. But a set of researchers at University of Leeds, Cardiff University, University of Southampton, and Aston University suggest you muse at least briefly about being museological. The word refers to presenting offerings in ways that artifacts and fine art are presented to visitors at traditional museums and art galleries.
  • Instead of using hangers, rails, or traditional shelving, place samples on tables or pedestals or in glass cabinets. 
  • Frame items with reflective and translucent materials, metal detailing, or hardwood. Select either the contemporary look of modern art or the antique look of the great masters. 
  • Space out items so each can be viewed from a range of angles. Also maintain a distance between the displayed item and the shoppers to discourage or prevent touching. 
  • Organize the items by theme and use signage to describe that theme. 
  • Illuminate each item with accent lighting, but limit the intensity of the lighting. Sophisticated consumers associate low intensity spotlighting with how paintings are protected in art galleries. 
     In a set of studies, these museological display techniques increased purchase intentions among shoppers for luxury products. The researchers’ explanation for the museological effect is that such techniques convey on the displayed items impressions of craftsmanship, aesthetic value, conscientiousness, and dramatic appeal.
     The researchers found no evidence that surrounding the items with actual artwork or museum-quality artifacts was necessary for the museological advantage. However, researchers from California State University-Stanislaus studied the effects on visitors of themed artifacts, such as you might use in a store. Those effects fell into three categories:
  • Physically drawing the consumer in. Objects which are visually interesting or cry out to be contemplated guide the consumer’s path of inquiry. 
  • Conceptually drawing the consumer in. Entering the area, the visitor has preconceptions about what will be experienced. Then when the visitor encounters each of the objects, those preconceptions stimulate the visitor to create stories which add interest, making it more likely the visitor will stay for a while, tell others about the place, and choose to return in the future. 
  • Substantiating. The right artifacts give substance to the moods the visitor is experiencing, meaning that impressions of the site are trusted more. In this process, the consumer is likely to incorporate what they’re feeling and what they believe others around them at the time are experiencing. 
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Monday, June 24, 2019

Account for Financially Limited Mindsets

When people feel financially poor, their consumer behavior changes. From a thorough review of past studies, researchers at Georgetown University, Texas A&M University, The University of Chicago, and University of Minnesota describe those changes in ways which allow better marketing to the financially limited mindset. The portrayal describes changes in the consumer as they move from reacting to coping to, when necessary, adapting.
  • Sometimes, becoming poor happens suddenly, as with losing a job or moving from a neighborhood where an income was sufficient to one where it most assuredly is not. These consumers find themselves reacting to the changes. If financially taxed after a long period of financial security, people become cognitively taxed as well. Reactions range from indecisiveness to aggression. Their self-esteem suffers. Marketers can earn customer loyalty during this stage by assisting customers to establish controls on spending, patiently guiding shoppers through decisions, and giving the people opportunities to talk about their frustrations. 
  • As financial constraints continue, most people learn to cope. They use available resources more efficiently, such as finding creative uses for products before discarding them. Where they previously took a longer time to make decisions because of uncertainty, they now take longer because they’re spending time savoring experiences, anticipating planned purchases with pleasure, and weighing, for each purchase, what would be gained against what’s lost with foregone alternatives. In independently-oriented cultures like the U.S., the coping stage often includes striving for status, with the result that precious funds are spent on scarce products and small luxury items. 
  • For some people, poverty becomes a lasting way of life. Plus, there are those born into poverty. For these situations, consumer behaviors are a matter of adapting rather than reacting or coping. There is more of a focus on the short-term than on the long-term so a greater attraction to what feels good and what’s easiest to start using. Because those who are chronically poor feel disenfranchised in society, the reactions could include depression. But the researchers find that for others, there are ways in which people adapting to financial limitations demonstrate better consumer behaviors than do others. They evaluate promotional discount offers more carefully. They become innovative and more interested in developing mutually beneficial interactions. If they can’t afford a desired item, they proceed to question its value to them. Marketers interested in fully serving the bottom of the financial pyramid will acknowledge these distinctive characteristics. 
Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

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Monday, June 17, 2019

Correct Gender Bias in Product Attributions

When a craft beer is described on the label as brewed by a woman, it’s rated less highly than when described as brewed by a man. Stanford University researchers say the explanation lies in how consumers assign gender associations to products. The quality rating was a composite score of how likely the rater was to buy the beer, how much they’d be willing to pay for it, and how good they expected the beer to taste. The lower rating for woman-crafted beer was seen among the male and the female respondents.
     Consumers of both sexes think of beer, hand tools, and auto parts, as primarily masculine. They think of cupcakes, dolls, and body moisturizers as primarily feminine. Dinner rolls, soup, and coffee are gender neutral.
     These stereotyping effects are not limited to merchandise. Female concert music will sound better when conducted by a woman, and male concert music sounds better when conducted by a man.
     Male and female concert music? Yes, those listening to recordings of unfamiliar music with decisive rhythms and dynamics judged it as sounding better when told the conductor was male than when told the conductor was female. With music having delicate rather than decisive qualities, the participants in these University of Southern California and Ohio State University studies gave higher ratings if told the conductor was female.
     How to overcome the bias? One approach is to provide quality ratings. In the Stanford studies, the disadvantage for woman-crafted beer faded when the label identified the beer as having won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival. In the concert conductor studies, the effect disappeared among study participants who, before listening to the music, were convinced that the conductor—whether female or male—was highly competent. The rating of the powerful music no longer depended on the supposed gender of the provider.
     This indicates that gender stereotypes at the retail level can be sidestepped by you establishing competence as early in the process as possible.
     Based on results from Babson College country-of-origin studies, having the consumer actually sample the product before gender attribution also might work. If a wine-taster was given country-of-origin information before sipping, those tasting an “Italian” wine rated the product as having higher quality than those tasting the wine from “India,” a region not strongly associated with quality wines. If the information was given after the sip, the effect was actually reversed.

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