Friday, January 31, 2020

Negotiate with the Stubbornness of Old Age

Elderly parents can be persistent, insistent, and resistant when faced with persuasion attempts by their adult children. In an exploratory study of elderly-offspring pairs, researchers at Pennsylvania State University and University of Texas-Austin aimed to identify what sets off the stubbornness. The findings also apply to influence attempts by salespeople, health care professionals, and politicians.
     In some cases, there was evidence of a lifelong pattern of being demanding or strong-willed and, in many cases, taking pride in those characteristics. As influence agents face stubbornness in the elderly, it is useful to acknowledge that tenacity is often a helpful characteristic in meeting challenges at every stage of life. But tenacity also can be maladaptive. A general finding from the research was that a perception of stubbornness became more likely when the elderly individual encountered disabilities which necessitated dependence on others. This stubbornness might best understood in the context of a desperate grab to maintain control.
     Adult offspring who are busy with their own immediate family might pressure the parent into quick compliance. This irritates the parent and leads to suspicions that any advice is not in the parent’s best interests. The resulting resistance can then generalize to the elderly individual’s interactions with other impatient influence agents. In the studies, reports of stubbornness were less common when both the senior and the adult child rated the relationship quality as positive.
     What we perceive as stubbornness in the elderly has parallels to what consumer psychologists refer to as reactance in consumers of all ages, so techniques to ease reactance can be helpful.
  • Review your reasoning. Check that what you are selling is truly to the advantage of the senior. Then frame your sales pitch around these genuine benefits. Reactance eases when a consumer feels they owe the persuasion agent for being helpful. 
  • Step back. When you see reactance developing, physically step away. When feasible, move to a less crowded area. Verbally step back by softening the rhetoric. Persuade in steps rather than trying to do it in one session. 
  • Talk of pleasure. Researchers had some participants read a message encouraging them to try a chocolate treat. The other participants’ message encouraged them to open a bank account. Those in the first condition responded best to an assertive message, “You must try our chocolate.” Those with the bank message responded best to a non-assertive pitch, “You could open a bank account with us.” 

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Keep Senior Shoppers From Worst Impulses
Unbox the Resistant Customer

Monday, January 27, 2020

Mine Golden Veins for Blood Donations

Not long after my newborn son arrived home decades ago, I received from the hospital a solicitation to donate blood. Before calling to set an appointment, I asked my wife if she wanted to join me. She promptly announced, “I give birth. You give blood.”
     As it happens, that policy, which has lasted throughout our marriage, also appears in a report of studies at Universität Hamburg. Women who give birth are less likely to donate blood than are women who have not given birth. There are other intriguing findings as well. Completing the educational goals one has set for oneself appears to increase the probability of giving blood. Having one’s mother die decreases the likelihood.
     Before striving to answer why these sorts of factors count, the researchers explored prior studies. Their objective was identification of techniques blood banks can mine to persuade more people to donate and to increase the frequency of giving. Consistent with World Health Organization policies, the techniques should not require monetary incentives.
     News of natural catastrophes and mass killings serve as broad-based motivators, but only for a short time. Holding out the prospect of peer praise works better than does appealing to altruism. Information about the collection process can ease the fears about fainting and bruises which discourage donating.
     Social marketing campaigns arousing fear or guilt have proven effective at increasing willingness to donate blood. The German Red Cross had success with the tag line, “97% of us rely on the other 3% to donate blood.” But this works only if the prospective donors believe their contribution will make a noticeable difference. It’s a matter of self-confidence.
     The Universität Hamburg researchers found that self-confidence drops in early years of parenthood and after the death of a close relative. Self-confidence increases upon accomplishment of a challenging objective. This explains the motherhood and educational achievement findings.
     Although about 40% of us meet criteria for donating blood, fewer than 10% donate. Because individual life events influence blood donation decisions, use targeted social marketing to supplement broad-based appeals. The targeted messages should build self-confidence in relation to the situation which has eroded it. “Now that you’re a parent, you’ve the power to help other parents by donating blood.” “You’ve the ability to memorialize others by donating blood in their honor.” “Congratulations on your graduation. Your knowledge will continually impact others, and so can a habit to regularly donate blood.”

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Prepare for Natural Disasters
Improve Sales Using Guilty Self-Improvement
Threaten Shoppers Craftily
Enliven Influence by Viewing Life Scripts
Drive Personalization by Fostering Narcissism

Friday, January 24, 2020

Fare Well with Fairness Intuition

Veteran retailer Kelly Ricks spins the fable of visiting a San Francisco hat shop. The walls are festooned with hundreds of hats, each carrying a price tag, and the prices range widely. “How do you decide what price to charge for a hat?” Kelly asks the shopkeeper. “Come with me. I’ll show you,” the shopkeeper replies as she retrieves a hat which had arrived just that day. The two walk into a back room where the shopkeeper steps in front of an oval mirror and places the hat on her head.
     Looking straight into the mirror, the woman says, “$10.99, $12.99, $14.99,” and continues, pausing briefly between each price announcement. “…$22.99, $24.99.” At that point, the retailer sharply breaks her direct gaze from the mirror, shakes her head, and writes $22.99 on a price tag she attaches to the hat. “You see,” she explains, “when I get to the price where I can no longer look myself in the eye, I drop back to the last price I’d said, and that’s what I charge.”
     This shopkeeper was pricing with an intuitive sense of fairness. What would be fair for the shopper as well as for her business? Many retail pricing decisions are made intuitively. That’s true for the shopper as well as for the shopkeeper and true when the price is not money, but rather time or effort. Fairness in shopping is important to consumers. When waiting to pay for their items, people become agitated if somebody butts in line or if another queue moves much faster than the one they’re standing in.
     What about how much people pay for the item? Researchers at UCLA and University of Chicago considered situations in which there is a limited supply and payment can occur in ways other than money. One study concerned a locally celebrated restaurant planning a special gourmet seven-course meal. How should the restaurant decide who gets a table?
     The research-based answer was that rewarding those who exert the most effort will intuitively seem most fair. Using a raffle in which people wait in line to get a ticket is better than auctioning off reservations to those willing to pay the most or inviting those customers who have eaten most frequently at the restaurant in the prior year.
     Because our intuition operates subconsciously, it often outweighs logical reasoning. Fare well in retailing by respecting intuitive feelings about fairness.

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Take Charge of Your Pricing
Keep Polling Shoppers About Your Pricing
Sense When Resistances Build About Paying
Chimp Away Sales Resistances Using Scarcity
Back Up Shoppers at the Front of the Line
Trust Educated Intuition

Monday, January 20, 2020

Make an Exhibition of Yourself for Seniors

Product fairs—often called exhibitions—are underutilized as a way to improve sales to older adults, say experts at Lomonosov Moscow State University. It’s not as if these exhibitions are never used. They regularly occur in Austria, Australia, Canada, Korea, and the United Arab Emirates, for instance. The CPAAA Senior Expo has been staged in Kansas for more than thirty years. In the researchers’ hometown of Moscow, the annual 50 PLUS Project Forum and Exhibition constituted the object of study for how to improve use of these marketing vehicles.
     When at their best, exhibitions yield short-term advantages, such as employing the excitement of the special event to sell more items, particularly if special exhibition-only discounts are offered. There are also strategic benefits, such as developing business-to-business partnerships and identifying industry trends by touring the other booths. These general marketing advantages of exhibitions hold true regardless of the ages of the target audiences. But because elderly adults have distinctive consumer characteristics, the particular patterns of selling, partnerships, and learning will differ with senior expos. Therefore, assess the reputations of the other exhibitors before deciding whether your organization should participate.
     Also assess the image and reputation of the event itself by asking your senior clients if they’ve attended in the past and, if they have, what they liked and disliked about the experience. Beyond expecting positive impressions, the researchers suggest the event be clearly positioned as being for commerce. A large number of booths offering social services will dampen attendance by seniors with ample money to spend. On the other hand, workshops about product usage will draw profitable attendees toward the exhibit hall.
     Seek expos which organize booths into theme areas. This is helpful to seniors for cognitive simplification and ease of navigation. Theme areas which have proven successful include health & nutrition, anti-aging beauty, living arrangements, hobbies, travel, and finance. Even with this, attendees will tire more quickly than would younger consumers and will have a greater need for toilets. Provide plenty of benches and rest rooms. Most attendees at senior expos are women, so bias toward ladies’ or unisex facilities.
     Take into account how perceptual, cognitive, and memory abilities change with advanced age. Signage in your booth and text in brochures should use high visual contrast along with fonts which are sufficiently large. In both visual materials and conversations with the attendees, repeat important marketing points.

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Muse Seeming Museum-Like in Your Store
Flush Out How Store Toilets Matter
Offer the Time of Their Lives to Senior Citizens

Friday, January 17, 2020

Think Through Seniors’ Cannabis Use

Recognizing that the rate of marijuana use has grown faster among older adults than in any other age demographic, Medical University of South Carolina researchers investigated the effects on seniors’ thinking skills. They identified 26 studies on the topic which met strict criteria for quality and recency of the inquiry. The overarching conclusion after analysis of those studies is that long-term use and higher doses impair older adults’ thinking and memory skills at least somewhat. But there is also intriguing preliminary evidence that cannabis might delay the cognitive deterioration due to dementia.
     Contributing to the rapid growth of marijuana use in seniors is the entry into that age range of people accustomed to recreational drug use. But a greater cause is the onset of physical problems in the elderly combined with perceptions that marijuana can ease the pain and calm the upset. As health care professionals persuade their aged patients to adhere to recommendations, those professionals should periodically ask about cannabis use. All persuasion agents, beyond the health care professionals, should recognize that those seniors who report frequent or long-term use of marijuana may need extra time and support in making complex decisions.
     Impaired decision making could lead older adults to grab onto tentative evidence of benefits of cannabis use and consider it as a certainty. One example consists of the reports that in animal studies low doses of the active ingredients in cannabis and cannabidiol appear to reverse age-related cognitive dysfunction of the types associated with dementia. Those responsible for advising seniors as well as the seniors themselves should carefully think through whether the evidence is sufficiently valid for using marijuana in this way. We want to protect the existing cognitive abilities from going to pot.
     The National Institute on Drug Abuse warns against marijuana use disorders, including marijuana dependence in which ever-increasing amounts of the drug are needed to head off irritability and insomnia. Marijuana use is related to other potentially addictive harmful behaviors. Studies at New York University and University of California-San Diego found that binge drinking is more common among older adults who use tobacco and/or cannabis than among those who do not. Gambling can be a positive pastime for older adults, providing social interaction and mental stimulation. Still, the disruptions to concentration associated with marijuana use might increase the risks of a senior yielding to the addictive qualities of gambling.

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Vaccinate to Encourage Seniors’ Vaccinating
Keep Senior Shoppers From Worst Impulses
Protect Seniors from Poor Financial Capacity
Table Complexity for Elderly Shoppers
Manage Risks for Seniors Who Gamble

Monday, January 13, 2020

Give Yourself the Gift of Brand Loyalty

Each time you persuade a shopper to purchase your brand as a gift for their family member or friend, you add to your profit because of that sale. But researchers at Germany’s University of Paderborn and University of Rostock discovered a significant additional benefit—brand loyalty of the gift giver. Comparing figures over the subsequent year for those who made the purchase for personal use with those who made it as a gift, purchase frequency was 25% higher, shopping trip frequency 41% higher, and cross-buying 49% higher. Together, these resulted in the gift buyers spending 63% more on that brand over the year than did those who had first bought only for themselves.
     Although these figures were for only one brand of one type of product, the data set included more than 84,000 customers from a total of six countries, suggesting this effect is stable. When people buy a particular brand as a gift, they become substantially more likely to subsequently purchase the brand again, either as another gift or for their own use.
     The percentage increases in purchase likelihood are highest for gift givers who are relatively new to the brand and for those who received special assistance, such as branded gift wrapping, when making the purchase. Based on these plus additional findings from their experimental studies, the researchers attributed the effect to the public commitment the gift giver had made to the brand and to gratitude for the special assistance. These formed an identity bond among the brand, the gift giver, and the family member or friend who would be receiving the gift. And people are more likely to give their business to brands with which they identify.
     The implication is for you to encourage gift purchases, especially with marketing directed to those new to your brand. Also offer gift wrapping which shows the product brand in an aesthetically pleasing way.
     However, other research suggests that you limit the special assistance you give. You don’t want to disrupt the valuable identification which comes from personalization. Personalization takes into account the characteristics of the particular individual. When selecting a gift, personalization requires the shopper to think in depth about the recipient and so enables presentation of the gift in an especially meaningful way. Answer the shopper’s questions, but if asked, “What should I pick?,” give as a first answer, “Well, you do know the recipient better than I do.”

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Put It to People to Put It in Writing
Relax Teen Gift-Givers’ Commonality Fears
Gimme Some Lovin’ Handmade
Limit Design Support for Personalized Gifts
Reward Customer Referrals with Congruency

Friday, January 10, 2020

Pilot Sales Increases with Store Flyer Design

Among tools available to retailers for encouraging store visits and purchases are multipage flyers inserted into newspapers or mailed as freestanding pieces. Because of how often flyers are used worldwide, researchers at University of Barcelona and University of Almería recognized the importance of determining what design considerations increase effectiveness.
     Store flyers almost always feature limited-time price discounts, a technique called “feature advertising” by marketers and consumer researchers. Since the front page of the flyer is what’s seen first, capture attention by highlighting there discounts on valued items. Position the store slogan close to the announcement of a discounted price. This helps establish a lasting, distinctive, positive store image.
     The flyer can serve as an influential device for increasing store brand sales. Store brands—private label brands—offer shoppers a price advantage. Traditionally, retailers price them at an average of one-third less than the national label brand. House brands also usually offer you higher profit margins than do the corresponding national label brands. The researchers found that featuring a national brand without a slogan alongside the store brand with a price discount is especially effective in building store brand sales.
     Another fundamental objective of flyers is to portray the store as carrying a variety of merchandise which fits the store image. Shoppers are attracted to stores that offer a broad range of choices within product categories. There are two product lines where you’re especially likely to realize profitability when your shopper perceives substantial variety:
  • Product categories where you’re already seeing a dramatic increase in sales. These increases are a sign you could be a destination location for that sort of merchandise. If you’re selling lots of soccer equipment, expand the merchandise assortment to draw even more soccer equipment buyers. 
  • Product categories which are underperforming in sales compared to what you’d expect. If you’ve evidence that other retailers are selling more baked goods than you are per square foot of merchandise space, consider expanding your variety of baked goods. 
     However, don’t portray variety by producing magazine-length circulars. Limit flyers to eight pages. Beyond this, your feature advertising loses focus. Your advertising funds are worse than wasted because bulky flyers cost more to print and distribute. In addition, store image might take a hit among consumers who are socially conscious about minimizing waste. Similarly, although frequent flyers are good passengers for airlines, overly frequent flyers are bad adverting devices for store retailers.

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Give Shoppers Permission to Spend More
Show Class for Price Image
Increase Store Loyalty Using House Brands
Sidle Eyeballs for Variety Purchasing
Organize Shelves & Racks to Portray Variety

Monday, January 6, 2020

Stress Reducing Elderly Worker Stereotypes

Elderly workers who choose to continue in their jobs rather than retire will, for the most part, remain capable of performing well. They compensate for the deficits of aging by using the wisdom, job familiarity, and commitment to the organization which a long tenure brings.
     Still, a danger to the seniors’ productivity, according to a study at The University of Queensland, The University of Newcastle, and Leipzig University comes from any assumptions by supervisors and coworkers that elderly workers are bound to do poorly. These assumptions create stress for seniors and lead to them ruminating about their future. The ultimate consequences are then, in reality, impaired job performance. Social psychologists refer to this type of vicious cycle as “stereotype threat.”
     Participants in the study ranged from ages 18 to 66 and came from a variety of organizations. Stereotype threat also can occur with younger employees, who are too often assumed to be unreliable and unskilled. In fact, the researchers found more frequent reports from the younger employees of assumptions of poor performance because of age. But an important difference was that, unlike with the older workers, the younger ones much more often reacted by challenging the stereotype and looking forward to proving themselves as they get older.
     Supervisors would be hard-pressed to successfully persuade the old hands that their skills, and so recognition for their skills, will dramatically improve in the future. But the supervisors can persuade those senior workers to break the cycle by providing them opportunities to master new tasks and to demonstrate their wisdom, such as by mentoring others. A burgeoning interest among the elderly is the desire to leave a legacy.
     Conquering the tendency to ruminate is tougher for most seniors than is easing stress. That’s because aging disrupts the executive functioning in the brain which helps people successfully stifle distracting thoughts. Availability of an employee assistance program could assist those who are having trouble shaking off the stereotype threat.
     The way you respond to seniors’ memory lapses also counts. Purge age bias. At the same time that you are alert to the possibility of memory impairment in your employee, place more emphasis on the objective of the task than on it having to do with memory. When your employee experiences a senior moment, where the experience is of a temporary mental lapse rather than a false memory, be patient, avoid embarrassment, and move on.

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Resolve Identity Crises for the Elderly
Forget Stereotypes of Seniors’ Memory Deficits

Friday, January 3, 2020

Smile Straight at Senior Shoppers

Smiling is contagious. Smile gently at someone, and they’re likely to smile back. Okay, you already knew that. A University of Tübingen study verified it. Functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain showed how when a consumer, for instance, sees a happy face, the consumer’s medial basotemporal lobes are activated, which in turn subconsciously stimulates expressions of happiness on the consumer’s face.
     Maybe you already knew that, too. But what you might not know is that the contagion isn’t so strong when it involves the face of an elderly consumer. With advancing age comes advancing difficulty in accurately perceiving happy expressions and in showing an expression others will perceive as a smile. There isn’t as much difference between a neutral expression and a smile on a senior’s face as on a young adult’s face, according to studies at Osaka University and National University of Singapore. It’s not that most older adults are chronically sad. They usually feel emotions less strongly than when they were younger. But seniors have a positivity bias. It’s just that they’re less likely to sense the happiness and to show it prominently in facial expressions.
     Because mutual smiles help make the sale, flash your sunny countenance brighter when working with seniors, look more intently for signs of smiling on their faces, and realize how what you might think are sadness wrinkles could be wrinkles of happiness.
     Believing you’re seeing sadness when it’s not there does more than head off a sale. It also can lead to you underestimating the senior prospect’s abilities. Researchers at San Francisco State University documented how most persuasion agents perceive an older person with a sad expression to be less capable than one with a happy expression. These perceptions of lower capability cover fundamentals such as the skills to prepare one’s own food on up to complex ones such as the ability to use judgment when faced with unexpected developments. Seeing seniors as sad when they really are not can lead to you treating them in patronizing ways when trying to influence them.
     You also could come across as patronizing if, while smiling, you raise your head and look down at the senior or lower your head and look up at them. In discussions of end-of-life decisions or heavy financial investments, it’s best not to smile much. And in all situations, curb prolonged gigantic smiles which make you look simply dopey.

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

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Embrace Sadness in Marketing to Seniors
Smile Often
Dwarf Giant Smiles So You Won’t Look Dopey