Monday, October 28, 2019

Hearken to What’s Tweeting About Seniors

A cardinal feature of the Donald Trump presidency, historians might someday declare, was policy announcements via tweet. Perhaps inspired by this American peculiarity, four statisticians in the UK choose to divine worldwide policies toward the elderly by using Twitter. They randomly selected 1,200 from a total of 185,258 English-language tweets they collected which contained the term “ageing,” “old age,” older people,” or “elderly.”
     What the researchers found after analysis was a largely negative view of seniors on social media. The elderly are portrayed as incompetent and unattractive. The findings supported prior research which added descriptions such as suspicious, intolerant, and rigid. Many of the tweets did describe old age as bringing wisdom and kindness. But reports of helping the aged seemed based more in acknowledging their fragility than in respecting their skills.
     The disempowerment expressed in all this can have life-or-death consequences, according to the researchers. When the policies of others affect seniors’ perceptions of themselves, older adults with positive views of aging live eight years longer, on average, than do those with less positive self-perceptions. Beyond this, if the major motivator for assisting seniors arises from pity for their fragility, those who begin to become empowered are at risk of losing offers of assistance.
     Let’s correct these international problems by cultivating respect for aging’s upsides. Based on their analyses, the researchers suggest one method is to embrace the term “older persons” and avoid the term “elderly,” which is currently used much more often to refer to the same age demographic.
     Let’s also work to empower older persons, which could make matters of specific terms less influential. Accomplish this by encouraging collaboration in decision making.
     When it comes to health care, though, there should be limits. A trend among health care providers is to empower consumers by describing options to them and then encouraging them to make medical decisions for themselves. But a study at Erasmus University and University of Navarra concluded that the amount of information necessary for true informed consent often disrupts adherence to expert advice. One way in which this happens is that an abundance of information overloads the consumer’s reasoning and emotions, resulting in unintentional non-adherence. Another way it happens is that the wealth of information bestows overconfidence, leading the consumer to subsequently listen less well to qualified experts and discount expert views different from their own premature conclusions.

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Embrace Sadness in Marketing to Seniors
Look At Mean, Median, Mode, and Range
Respect Your Elders
Empower Indirectly Using Co-creation
Check for Empowered Shoppers’ Compliance

Friday, October 25, 2019

Partition Premium Pricing for Busy Shoppers

Your loyalty program participants will reach reward levels faster if you keep their focus on whichever is smaller in size—the percentage of the requirement they’ve already completed or the percentage they’ve yet to complete. This “small area effect” works with most things that require the consumer’s effort.
     Because paying money is a burden for shoppers, a small area effect is seen in pricing for upgrades to premium versions. Suppose that one retailer’s ad states $199.99 as the price for the standard version of a product and $259.99 for the premium version. Now suppose that another retailer also advertises $199.99 for the standard version, but then says in the ad, “For $60 more, you can purchase the premium version.”
     Which do you think is more likely to persuade shoppers to purchase the premium version?
     Researchers at University of British Columbia and Nanyang Technological University find that it’s the second version. Partitioning the upgrade cost makes it seem like a smaller expenditure because it’s a smaller number than the total price. Not surprisingly then, this works best with busy shoppers who don’t take the time to calculate and contemplate the total price.
     Since there’s a potential with this technique of tricking consumers, check that the premium version truly will be of benefit to this individual shopper. Then once you have verified the benefits, incorporate those into your selling. Partitioned pricing calls attention to each of the components for which a cost is stated, so state the additional cost in the format, “For only this dollar amount more, you’ll receive these specific additional benefits.”
     Generally, it is best to state that additional amount as a round dollar figure. So if the prices on the bin tags are $19.99 and $29.99, say, “For only $10 more, here are the additional features you’ll get.” The easy comparison facilitates acceptance of the offer. However, if your upselling includes more than one upgrade step, persuasion is more likely when you quote the actual price points rather than rounding and when you go into more detail in discussing the prices, such as talking about per unit costs or percentage differences. Researchers at Babson College and Baruch College found that with sequential upgrade offers, consumers perceive the differences in prices between the regular and premium versions to be smaller if the comparison is harder to compute than in a prior upgrade decision.

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Vary Velocity for Loyalty Program Motivation
Expect Exceptions to 99-Ending Pricing
Use Partitioned Pricing to Highlight Benefits
Detail Subsequent Upgrade Price Comparisons
Upgrade Your Upselling

Monday, October 21, 2019

Line Up Time Estimates in Best Directions

The longer it will take to achieve a desired outcome, the less attractive that outcome is to the consumer. For pleasure-oriented items, we might savor the waiting, but we’re willing to wait only so long. For utilitarian considerations such as receiving a refund payment, the sooner, the better.
     Researchers at Colorado State University, University of Kentucky, and University of South Florida find that, for consumers in Western cultures, a vertical timeline versus horizontal depiction matters. A vertical with the soonest time at the top makes waits seem less burdensome than does a horizontal with the soonest time at the left.
     In one of the studies, patrons at a Greek restaurant were asked to choose between a coupon giving $2 off tomorrow and one $4 off in two weeks. Presentation of the options in a vertical format resulted in a greater frequency of choosing the $4 option. In another study, participants indicated they’d allocate more of their income to a retirement plan when pictures of a young man and older man were arranged vertically rather than horizontally. A vertical depiction moves people away from wanting to get and use resources as soon as possible. They’ll be more willing to accept delays.
     How you state units of waiting also makes a difference. If there will be an unexpected delivery delay, when is it better to say, “Your product will be arriving in three weeks, not one week,” and when should you use, “Your product will be arriving in 21 days instead of 7”?
     If the customer is anxiously awaiting the arrival in order to start using the item, favor the first wording. In this case, the customer is looking for small. If the customer’s focus is instead on, “I made the purchase then because it was a great price, but I won’t be using the item right away,” describe the delay in terms of days.
     Demonstrating progress on the timeline can ease anxiety about waiting. Work in front of the customer and give a running rendition about the progress being made. Say how far along you are and how much further you have to go. Researchers at University of Singapore and University of Toronto found that people actually evaluated the price of a locksmith service as a better value when the service took more time than when the lock was picked faster, as long as they were kept informed of the progress.

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Charge for Savoring
Quote Measurement Units for Future Buys
Flex Your Understanding of Time Perceptions

Monday, October 14, 2019

Bee Aware of “Honey Do” in Retirement Plans

As my wife approached retirement after over three decades as an educator, people would ask her how she’d be spending her time. Her go-to answer was, “At whatever I want to do.”
     Studies by Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute indicate a more accurate answer might have been, “At whatever Bruce and I want me to do.” The researchers found that a husband or wife has significant input. Those professionals who help employees plan for a satisfying retirement should include the spouse in the deliberations.
     Based on surveys of more than 4,000 older adults and the respective spouses, the researchers statistically distinguished three domains of retirement intentions, which they labeled bridge employment, self-developmental leisure, and social leisure. Retirement includes a weighted blend of these three. When a spouse was concerned about post-retirement finances, the employee was more likely to intend to engage in bridge employment. If the spouse had tasks in mind for their honey to do, there was a tendency toward self-developmental leisure. When the employee and spouse were maintaining a vibrant network of family and friends, social leisure was more often the choice.
     Other determinants also showed up in the research. Most people plan to continue into retirement the sorts of activities they’d engaged in while working. Those who predicted they’d live for a long time contemplated ways they’d be maintaining an income. But in all cases among married employees, the spouse’s preferences and intentions exerted substantial influence.
     This is consistent with other studies which verify couple influence in a range of consumer domains. For example, men in supportive marriages are more likely to have a recommended colonoscopy—that diagnostic procedure in which you consent to endure a long tube with a video camera and set of clippers run up your rear end.
     Researchers at University of Chicago and Brigham and Women's Hospital said that if the wife was happy with the relationship, the probability climbed further. And if the wife previously agreed to undergo a colonoscopy for herself, the husband was more likely to accept having one.
     But it didn’t work completely the other way around. Marriage happiness had no significant effect on the probability the wife would get a colonoscopy. This could be because women are wiser about preventive medical care than men regardless of how others around them are behaving. Husbands and wives may make consumer decisions together, but each partner may do it somewhat differently.

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Couple Wise Consumer Decisions
Pare Senior Consumption Flaws with Pairs
Sell Seniors on Future Plans

Monday, October 7, 2019

Show Products Made of Recycled Items

Although recycling opportunities abound, only about 26% of waste in the U.S. and 13% of waste globally is recycled. Yet, more than half of landfill material could have been recycled. Further, recycling rates have plateaued.
     Researchers at Pennsylvania State University and Boston College cite these statistics in introducing a method they developed to increase the percentages: Show people ads which demonstrate how recycled items are transformed into new items. The method works regardless of whether the transformed item is similar to the recycled item (material from recycled soda cans being used to produce new soda cans) or quite different (material from recycled soda cans being used to produce bicycle frames). Considering the potential of trash inspires people to engage in this socially responsible behavior.
     The salience can also be achieved with ads stating that a marketer’s products are made from recycled materials. However, the researchers note a downside to this method: People tend to consider items which incorporate recycled materials to be inferior to parallel items which use only new materials. This is a variant of the contamination concerns experienced in other areas of consumer behavior.
     The transformation ad effect is itself a variant of consumption vision advantages. Consumer researchers use the term “consumption vision” to describe a shopper’s mental image which is vivid and specific enough to let a shopper vicariously experience the benefits they would personally enjoy when using a product or service. Consumption visions generally increase purchase likelihood.
     Consumption vision of transformed waste can be particularly useful in heading off a surprisingly common reason people don’t recycle: They subconsciously believe that scraps of material are less likely to be worthwhile. In studies at Boston University and University of Alberta, participants were asked to evaluate a pair of scissors. Some were instructed to cut one or two sheets of paper as part of the evaluation. The others were instructed to conduct the evaluation without cutting the paper. Afterwards, each participant was told to discard the paper as they left. By the door were two identical bins, one for trash and one for recycling.
     The people recycled whole sheets of paper much more often than the pieces which had been cut. An ad showing transformation to a dissimilar product, such as a soda can to a bicycle frame, implies that the recycled item will need to be reduced to scraps before reuse, so even scraps are worth saving.

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Keep It Clean
Stimulate Consumption Visions with Ads
Abandon Discard of Damaged Packages
Trash Ineffective Appeals to Recycle