Monday, February 24, 2014

Request Reciprocity

When potential customers access your website or social media channel, you’d like to draw information from them. It might be information you’ll use later to contact them with customized offers. It might be demographic and psychographic information you’ll use to shape your overall merchandising and marketing.
     Many consumer behavior studies have found that people are more likely to give a retailer information about themselves when the retailer convinces the people that the findings will be used to benefit them personally and only for that purpose. Now, based on their results, researchers at Technische Universität München, Universität Passau, and ETH Zürich suggest an additional tactic sequence: Give valuable information for free on the website or via the social media channel; prominently remind the person that you’ve made this gift; and then ask for the information from the person.
     It’s all in the spirit of what’s captured, albeit in a cynical vein, in that song “When You’re Good to Mama” from “Chicago,” that hit musical: “Because the system works—the system called reciprocity.” Furthermore, reciprocity is an effective lever in contexts other than online inquiries and prisons.
     The form it takes depends on how the consumer perceives the relationship with you. For example, in a University of Toronto study, health club members were offered a reward for completing a one-hour survey. With some participants, the reward was a free one-hour class at the health club, while for the others, it was a $15 discount on a purchase at the club. The researchers considered the free class to be more similar to the benefit given the club by the survey respondent—one hour of time.
     Respondents in the study who had a friend-of-the-family type relationship with the club were more comfortable with getting the $15 discount. They thought that friends deserve to make choices. On the other hand, those considering themselves to be no more than customers were more comfortable with the free class.
     Here, the favor was asked of the consumer first and reciprocity invoked afterwards. It’s a version of the Ben Franklin Effect: If someone does you a favor, they become more loyal to you. Mr. Franklin wrote about a legislator who disliked him. Mr. Franklin decided to ask the legislator to do the favor of loaning Mr. Franklin a particular book for a few days. As Ben tells the tale, this cultivated loyalty of the legislator toward Mr. Franklin.

Click below for more: 
Refine Your Psychographics 
Build Trust Before Asking for Information 
Clarify Expectations with Friendship Customers 
Peer into Pressure from Obligation 
Favor Reciprocity with a Ben Franklin Effect

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