Monday, October 21, 2013

Miss Out Unless You Take the Myth Out

In the Myth-Fact Message Format (MFMF), the prospective seller first briefly describes an incorrect belief commonly held by members of the target audience, then promptly presents the correct factual information. MFMF is often used in health care and social marketing advertising campaigns. The myth that childhood vaccines cause autism is described, followed by the factual information that vaccines improve rather than disrupt health. The myth that most people with schizophrenia are violent is presented and then dismantled.
     MFMF is also potentially useful with face-to-face store selling. The salesperson describes to the shopper a common mistaken belief about the quality of a house brand, the advantages of online purchases, or the return policies of a competing store, and then corrects the myth with verified facts.
     However, researchers at Kent State University caution that the MFMF often results in better memory for the myth than for the facts. This was found to be most likely with consumers for whom the message has special personal relevance. In the case of the childhood vaccines message, it would be parents of young children. In the case of return policies, it would be the shopper who isn’t sure she’s making the right purchase.
     You might think that consumers who find the message to have personal relevance would be the most attentive to telling myth from fact. But if you’re thinking this, you’re believing a myth, according to the research findings.
     The researchers suggest using a fact-only format with the high-personal-relevance consumers. Other research indicates that a fact-myth-fact message format could work well.
     The more general issue is the problem with negation. Here’s an illustration: Which toothpaste dispenser would receive higher ratings from your customers: The one you describe as “not easy to use” or the one you describe as “not difficult to use”?
     Researchers at University of Colorado-Boulder, Northwestern University, and INSEAD found that the “not easy to use” alternative receives higher ratings. All study participants were given one of two versions of a list of characteristics of the dispenser. The two versions were identical, except that one version included the “not easy to use” and the other, the “not difficult to use” phrase.
     The “easy” or “difficult” played a much greater role in the decision making than did the “not.” One group was evaluating the dispenser with “easy” in mind, while the other had “difficult” in mind.
     In sales messages, recognize what to omit.

Click below for more: 
Unknot Distortions from Using “Not” 
Stress the Impact of Spreading Impressions 
Mythologize Your Store

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