Friday, January 17, 2020

Think Through Seniors’ Cannabis Use

Recognizing that the rate of marijuana use has grown faster among older adults than in any other age demographic, Medical University of South Carolina researchers investigated the effects on seniors’ thinking skills. They identified 26 studies on the topic which met strict criteria for quality and recency of the inquiry. The overarching conclusion after analysis of those studies is that long-term use and higher doses impair older adults’ thinking and memory skills at least somewhat. But there is also intriguing preliminary evidence that cannabis might delay the cognitive deterioration due to dementia.
     Contributing to the rapid growth of marijuana use in seniors is the entry into that age range of people accustomed to recreational drug use. But a greater cause is the onset of physical problems in the elderly combined with perceptions that marijuana can ease the pain and calm the upset. As health care professionals persuade their aged patients to adhere to recommendations, those professionals should periodically ask about cannabis use. All persuasion agents, beyond the health care professionals, should recognize that those seniors who report frequent or long-term use of marijuana may need extra time and support in making complex decisions.
     Impaired decision making could lead older adults to grab onto tentative evidence of benefits of cannabis use and consider it as a certainty. One example consists of the reports that in animal studies low doses of the active ingredients in cannabis and cannabidiol appear to reverse age-related cognitive dysfunction of the types associated with dementia. Those responsible for advising seniors as well as the seniors themselves should carefully think through whether the evidence is sufficiently valid for using marijuana in this way. We want to protect the existing cognitive abilities from going to pot.
     The National Institute on Drug Abuse warns against marijuana use disorders, including marijuana dependence in which ever-increasing amounts of the drug are needed to head off irritability and insomnia. Marijuana use is related to other potentially addictive harmful behaviors. Studies at New York University and University of California-San Diego found that binge drinking is more common among older adults who use tobacco and/or cannabis than among those who do not. Gambling can be a positive pastime for older adults, providing social interaction and mental stimulation. Still, the disruptions to concentration associated with marijuana use might increase the risks of a senior yielding to the addictive qualities of gambling.

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Vaccinate to Encourage Seniors’ Vaccinating
Keep Senior Shoppers From Worst Impulses
Protect Seniors from Poor Financial Capacity
Table Complexity for Elderly Shoppers
Manage Risks for Seniors Who Gamble

Monday, January 13, 2020

Give Yourself the Gift of Brand Loyalty

Each time you persuade a shopper to purchase your brand as a gift for their family member or friend, you add to your profit because of that sale. But researchers at Germany’s University of Paderborn and University of Rostock discovered a significant additional benefit—brand loyalty of the gift giver. Comparing figures over the subsequent year for those who made the purchase for personal use with those who made it as a gift, purchase frequency was 25% higher, shopping trip frequency 41% higher, and cross-buying 49% higher. Together, these resulted in the gift buyers spending 63% more on that brand over the year than did those who had first bought only for themselves.
     Although these figures were for only one brand of one type of product, the data set included more than 84,000 customers from a total of six countries, suggesting this effect is stable. When people buy a particular brand as a gift, they become substantially more likely to subsequently purchase the brand again, either as another gift or for their own use.
     The percentage increases in purchase likelihood are highest for gift givers who are relatively new to the brand and for those who received special assistance, such as branded gift wrapping, when making the purchase. Based on these plus additional findings from their experimental studies, the researchers attributed the effect to the public commitment the gift giver had made to the brand and to gratitude for the special assistance. These formed an identity bond among the brand, the gift giver, and the family member or friend who would be receiving the gift. And people are more likely to give their business to brands with which they identify.
     The implication is for you to encourage gift purchases, especially with marketing directed to those new to your brand. Also offer gift wrapping which shows the product brand in an aesthetically pleasing way.
     However, other research suggests that you limit the special assistance you give. You don’t want to disrupt the valuable identification which comes from personalization. Personalization takes into account the characteristics of the particular individual. When selecting a gift, personalization requires the shopper to think in depth about the recipient and so enables presentation of the gift in an especially meaningful way. Answer the shopper’s questions, but if asked, “What should I pick?,” give as a first answer, “Well, you do know the recipient better than I do.”

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Put It to People to Put It in Writing
Relax Teen Gift-Givers’ Commonality Fears
Gimme Some Lovin’ Handmade
Limit Design Support for Personalized Gifts
Reward Customer Referrals with Congruency

Friday, January 10, 2020

Pilot Sales Increases with Store Flyer Design

Among tools available to retailers for encouraging store visits and purchases are multipage flyers inserted into newspapers or mailed as freestanding pieces. Because of how often flyers are used worldwide, researchers at University of Barcelona and University of Almería recognized the importance of determining what design considerations increase effectiveness.
     Store flyers almost always feature limited-time price discounts, a technique called “feature advertising” by marketers and consumer researchers. Since the front page of the flyer is what’s seen first, capture attention by highlighting there discounts on valued items. Position the store slogan close to the announcement of a discounted price. This helps establish a lasting, distinctive, positive store image.
     The flyer can serve as an influential device for increasing store brand sales. Store brands—private label brands—offer shoppers a price advantage. Traditionally, retailers price them at an average of one-third less than the national label brand. House brands also usually offer you higher profit margins than do the corresponding national label brands. The researchers found that featuring a national brand without a slogan alongside the store brand with a price discount is especially effective in building store brand sales.
     Another fundamental objective of flyers is to portray the store as carrying a variety of merchandise which fits the store image. Shoppers are attracted to stores that offer a broad range of choices within product categories. There are two product lines where you’re especially likely to realize profitability when your shopper perceives substantial variety:
  • Product categories where you’re already seeing a dramatic increase in sales. These increases are a sign you could be a destination location for that sort of merchandise. If you’re selling lots of soccer equipment, expand the merchandise assortment to draw even more soccer equipment buyers. 
  • Product categories which are underperforming in sales compared to what you’d expect. If you’ve evidence that other retailers are selling more baked goods than you are per square foot of merchandise space, consider expanding your variety of baked goods. 
     However, don’t portray variety by producing magazine-length circulars. Limit flyers to eight pages. Beyond this, your feature advertising loses focus. Your advertising funds are worse than wasted because bulky flyers cost more to print and distribute. In addition, store image might take a hit among consumers who are socially conscious about minimizing waste. Similarly, although frequent flyers are good passengers for airlines, overly frequent flyers are bad adverting devices for store retailers.

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Give Shoppers Permission to Spend More
Show Class for Price Image
Increase Store Loyalty Using House Brands
Sidle Eyeballs for Variety Purchasing
Organize Shelves & Racks to Portray Variety

Monday, January 6, 2020

Stress Reducing Elderly Worker Stereotypes

Elderly workers who choose to continue in their jobs rather than retire will, for the most part, remain capable of performing well. They compensate for the deficits of aging by using the wisdom, job familiarity, and commitment to the organization which a long tenure brings.
     Still, a danger to the seniors’ productivity, according to a study at The University of Queensland, The University of Newcastle, and Leipzig University comes from any assumptions by supervisors and coworkers that elderly workers are bound to do poorly. These assumptions create stress for seniors and lead to them ruminating about their future. The ultimate consequences are then, in reality, impaired job performance. Social psychologists refer to this type of vicious cycle as “stereotype threat.”
     Participants in the study ranged from ages 18 to 66 and came from a variety of organizations. Stereotype threat also can occur with younger employees, who are too often assumed to be unreliable and unskilled. In fact, the researchers found more frequent reports from the younger employees of assumptions of poor performance because of age. But an important difference was that, unlike with the older workers, the younger ones much more often reacted by challenging the stereotype and looking forward to proving themselves as they get older.
     Supervisors would be hard-pressed to successfully persuade the old hands that their skills, and so recognition for their skills, will dramatically improve in the future. But the supervisors can persuade those senior workers to break the cycle by providing them opportunities to master new tasks and to demonstrate their wisdom, such as by mentoring others. A burgeoning interest in the elderly is the desire to leave a legacy.
     Conquering the tendency to ruminate is tougher for most seniors than is easing stress. That’s because aging disrupts the executive functioning in the brain which helps people successfully stifle distracting thoughts. Availability of an employee assistance program could assist those who are having trouble shaking off the stereotype threat.
     The way you respond to seniors’ memory lapses also counts. Purge age bias. At the same time that you are alert to the possibility of memory impairment in your employee, place more emphasis on the objective of the task than on it having to do with memory. When your employee experiences a senior moment, where the experience is of a temporary mental lapse rather than a false memory, be patient, avoid embarrassment, and move on.

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Resolve Identity Crises for the Elderly
Forget Stereotypes of Seniors’ Memory Deficits

Friday, January 3, 2020

Smile Straight at Senior Shoppers

Smiling is contagious. Smile gently at someone, and they’re likely to smile back. Okay, you already knew that. A University of Tübingen study verified it. Functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain showed how when a consumer, for instance, sees a happy face, the consumer’s medial basotemporal lobes are activated, which in turn subconsciously stimulates expressions of happiness on the consumer’s face.
     Maybe you already knew that, too. But what you might not know is that the contagion isn’t so strong when it involves the face of an elderly consumer. With advancing age comes advancing difficulty in accurately perceiving happy expressions and in showing an expression others will perceive as a smile. There isn’t as much difference between a neutral expression and a smile on a senior’s face as on a young adult’s face, according to studies at Osaka University and National University of Singapore. It’s not that most older adults are chronically sad. They usually feel emotions less strongly than when they were younger. But seniors have a positivity bias. It’s just that they’re less likely to sense the happiness and to show it prominently in facial expressions.
     Because mutual smiles help make the sale, flash your sunny countenance brighter when working with seniors, look more intently for signs of smiling on their faces, and realize how what you might think are sadness wrinkles could be wrinkles of happiness.
     Believing you’re seeing sadness when it’s not there does more than head off a sale. It also can lead to you underestimating the senior prospect’s abilities. Researchers at San Francisco State University documented how most persuasion agents perceive an older person with a sad expression to be less capable than one with a happy expression. These perceptions of lower capability cover fundamentals such as the skills to prepare one’s own food on up to complex ones such as the ability to use judgment when faced with unexpected developments. Seeing seniors as sad when they really are not can lead to you treating them in patronizing ways when trying to influence them.
     You also could come across as patronizing if, while smiling, you raise your head and look down at the senior or lower your head and look up at them. In discussions of end-of-life decisions or heavy financial investments, it’s best not to smile much. And in all situations, curb prolonged gigantic smiles which make you look simply dopey.

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Embrace Sadness in Marketing to Seniors
Smile Often
Dwarf Giant Smiles So You Won’t Look Dopey

Monday, December 30, 2019

Experience Higher Profits with Experiences

People are more receptive to a price increase for an experience than for a material object. A major reason is that people generally consider an experience to be more distinctive than a material object, and they’re willing to pay a premium for distinctiveness.
     A set of experiments at Universidade Catolica Portuguesa suggests that the distinctiveness can be portrayed to consumers in one or more of four ways:
  • Limited opportunity. “You are here now.” “We are available now to provide this experience.” “You have the time for this experience now.” 
  • Unique design. “This experience will be dramatically different from any other experience you’ve had so far.” “Each time you partake in the experience, we can make it different for you.” 
  • Personalized design. “We will customize this experience to fit your characteristics and preferences.” 
  • Counter-conformity. “This experience allows you to temporarily rebel against what others expect you to do.” 
     Prior research has found that people usually find greater happiness in purchasing experiences than in purchasing objects because experiences bring higher pre-acquisition savoring, more opportunities to share consumption of the purchase through joint participation, and more interest of others in hearing about the purchase. These subsequent studies verify how the difference in acceptance of price increases is due to the distinctiveness apart from the expectation of greater happiness.
     An implication of the findings is that you can ease resistances to price increases for objects by emphasizing the distinctiveness of the purchase. In a counterintuitive example of this, researchers at University of Texas-Dallas found circumstances in which you should raise your price on a particular item when the price on apparently equivalent items is lowered.
     One result of such a drop by a supplier of a high-prestige item is that demand increases for a substitutable item with a higher price. The logic goes like this for the consumer, perhaps at a subconscious level: “If the price is now lower, more people will be able to buy the item. This means the people in my social group won’t be as impressed when I show them I purchased this item. However, if I buy this other item, which carries a higher price, my purchase will impress others more because it’s distinctive.”
     Whether it is in selling experiences or material objects, you should respond to increased demand by raising the price. Not a huge jump, since it’s never a good idea to gouge, but a nudge upwards.

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Up the Experience Purchase Quality
Prepare Customers for Price Increases
Charge for Savoring
Raise Luxury Prices If Equivalents Drop Prices
Dip Your Toe Into Extreme Experiences
Encourage Customers to Pay What’s Right