Monday, December 7, 2015

Toss Positive with Heavy Abusers

If your target audience consists of consumers engaging in bad behaviors, the messages which best build interest in behavior change are different for heavy than for light abusers. Researchers at High Point University and Bradley University give us the specifics after having worked with a group of people who texted while driving and with another group who gambled excessively.
     Those who lightly engage in the problem behavior respond best to sales presentations that, without apparent exaggeration, portray the negative consequences of continuing. For heavy abusers—those who might be considered texting or gambling addicts—go positive instead, pointing out the benefits of cessation for people like them.
     The underlying consumer psychology principle is that if a person’s fear about continuing to engage in a problem behavior is too intense or if the person doesn’t see a way out, they become defensive and wave off the course of action you’re wanting to sell them.
     Tulane University research results indicate that you can adjust the degree of negative and positive by the way you talk about regret, guilt, or challenge. The studies here were of consumers who failed to use sunscreen sufficiently or should include more fiber in their diet. Statements successfully arousing regret included, “I can understand why you’re sorry you haven’t done the healthy thing so far.” Guilt was stimulated with, “I’m sure you want to do all you can to protect your family.” For challenge, a prompt was, “I realize making such changes is hard for most people.”
     Empowering the consumer helps keep it positive. Researchers at University of Houston and Boston College assigned study participants to one of three groups based on what they were instructed to say to companions and to themselves to resist temptations:
  • “No, I won’t”
  • “No, I can’t”
  • “No, I don’t”
     The “No, I don’t” group reported the best success.
     If in doubt about the degree of engagement of the consumer in the problem behavior, slant toward positives. Researchers at Victoria University of Wellington, University of Western England, and American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates identified a group of students showing evidence of high anxiety. The researchers sent these students messages pointing out the possibly dire consequences of failing to seek help at the university counseling center.
     The threats didn’t convince the students to seek counseling nearly as well as emphasizing positive consequences in messages to the students.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Craft Fear Appeals
Threaten Shoppers Craftily
Color Me Scared Blue

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