Monday, October 10, 2016

Back Away from Backup Plans

The availability of smoking cessation programs can lead to people smoking more, since the people get the impression they can stop anytime they choose to. And once a consumer has gone through a debt consolidation program, that consumer may become more likely to spend irresponsibly, since the consumer figures he can go through a debt consolidation program again. Researchers at University of Pennsylvania, University of Florida, and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill point out how backup plans—in this case, what is called remedy marketing—can have unintended consequences.
     A set of studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Pennsylvania expanded the scope of this finding, applying it to work life. People were asked to complete tasks with a promise of rewards for successful achievement. Some of the participants were also encouraged to develop backup plans for how they might obtain equivalent payoffs if failing to get them from the study conditions. Those participants with backup plans did less well on the tasks and showed lower drive to get the reward.
     Back away from your backup plans long enough to assess for unintended consequences, such as impaired motivation.
     It could be that taking the energy to formulate the plan eats up resources you’d otherwise devote to getting the job done right off. A number of consumer studies have shown this kind of effect with results equally surprising to those critical of contingency thinking. Duke University, UCLA, and University of Florida researchers found that people who carry around the store shopping lists they created in advance—the consumer trying to remember what they need and what the store carries—end up more likely to make purchases they will later regret than do people who don’t make a shopping list in advance. The explanation is that creating a shopping list from memory uses mental energy. Every shopper has a limited pool of mental energy, and when a great deal of it is consumed in making the list, there is less mental energy remaining to resist the foolish, unhealthy, even sinful items.
     But the Pennsylvania / Florida / North Carolina team conclude there’s more to it when it comes to the dangers of backup plans. The problems arise because of overdependence on the plans. The researchers recommend backing away in another sense as well: Once you’ve developed the plan, distance yourself from it unless and until you need to implement it.

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

Click below for more: 
Check for Unintended Consequences
Forget About Letting Shoppers Forget to Buy
Forget About It When It Comes to Failures

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