Monday, April 24, 2023

Utilize the Eudaimonic

Shoppers are attracted to items which support the values they and their society promote. We might expect, then, that an influence agent increases the probability of a sale by saying, “As you make your choices, please focus on deriving meaning from your choices. That is, focus on the aspects of each option that you find most purposeful, fulfilling, and valuable. Really try to make it a meaningful experience!”
     But what about how much the shopper is willing to pay for the item? Researchers at York University and University of Colorado Boulder compared results for consumers given the “meaningful experience” mindset with those told instead, “As you make your choices, please focus on deriving pleasure from your choices. That is, focus on the aspects of each option that delight you and that you think are fun. Really try to enjoy yourself and make it a pleasurable experience!”
     What they found is that the “meaningful experience” consumers preferred the less expensive item in a choice set more often than did the “pleasurable experience” consumers. This was true across a broad range of single item purchases. Water bottles and cooking classes. Digital cameras and disposable cameras. Coffee and cars.
     In further studies, the researchers assessed various explanations for this effect. The one holding up best was that people focusing on the meaningfulness of their purchases think to a greater extent about other ways they could spend their money aside from purchase of the single item. They want to devote some of their funds to additional expenditures which will enhance the meaningfulness of their lives.
     Consumer researchers refer to this consideration of other ways to spend the purchase funds as opportunity costs. The shopper says, “If I spend less on this item, I’ll have more to spend on this additional item.” The shopper’s attention to meaningfulness in purchases relates to what psychologists call eudaimonic well-being—the contentment which arises from fulfilling a purpose in life.
     In considering the implications of their findings, the researchers acknowledge the desire of marketers to provide their audiences meaningful value. They suggest that marketers, in turn, acknowledge how these audiences will look beyond the cost of purchasing a single item. In my opinion, this leads to marketers thinking about follow-on sales in order to maintain revenues. Spot each shopper’s values by inquiring about the reasons for the purchase choices, then use this to craft the next best offer.

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Value Cultural Values 

Monday, April 17, 2023

Elect Electability Accuracy

Our decisions are substantially influenced by what we think others are deciding. Consumers may reject or even discard an otherwise flawless product because its only flaw is that a friend intends to own the identical product. People feeling lonelier than usual are drawn to items previously used by others and then given away. People feeling chronically lonely vastly prefer products in a category endorsed by a minority—around 20% or so—of prior purchasers.
     When deciding whether to cast our ballot for a Democrat or a Republican, many of us attend to electability in the form of who we think others will vote for. Studies at University of Toronto, University of California Irvine, and University of British Columbia suggest this attention leads to mistakes. Specifically, Democrats overestimate the percentage of Americans who claim they won’t vote for a candidate from a disadvantaged group. For the studies, disadvantaged groups included the candidate labels Female, Black, Hispanic, Jewish, Muslim, Gay or Lesbian, and Atheist. These overestimates are found to a lesser degree among Republicans.
     Democrats who harbor the overestimates will consider presidential candidates carrying one or more of those labels to be less electable and so, when voting on the basis of electability, will hesitate voting for such candidates. A chief result will be that candidates from historically disadvantaged groups are underrepresented in the general election.
     The researchers’ follow-up inquires suggest two methods can lessen the bias: First, provide Democratic voters with accurate information about the prejudice against these disadvantaged groups. Second, encourage Democrats to frequently interact with Republicans.
     The bias and the remedies for it are most meaningful when little is known about the candidate. For example, informing Democratic voters that the true level of prejudice against women candidates is lower than they thought leads to the Democrats elevating electability estimates of candidates known to be women. But it had little effect on the Democrats’ estimates when the candidate was specifically labeled as Elizabeth Warren. Ms. Warren carries many labels beyond Female in voters’ minds.
     Just as there are many labels interacting, there are many influences on electability judgments. Researchers at University of London and Regents University London found that who the voter wants to be elected is one of those. Politicians’ electability estimates from U.S. participants were influenced to a greater extent by information consistent with their prior candidate preferences than by information consistent with their prior electability estimates.

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Offer Variations to Ease Fear of Conformity 

Monday, April 10, 2023

Check Out Tactics for Donations at Checkout

When a customer is asked during store purchase checkout to donate to a charity, they feel put on the spot, researchers at San Diego State University point out. Their studies find that the consequences can be higher donations than if the request is made in private, but also leave negative attitudes toward the store and the charity. The researchers then went on to show how downsides are eased if the request at checkout is made in writing instead of verbally.
     For purposes of the study, a fictitious charity name, Kids’ Wishes Fund, was used. Two groups of American consumers were asked to imagine being in line at a register at a store, with the cashier and several other customers looking at them, when a solicitation for a children's charity appeared on their checkout screen. The message read, “Help make the wishes of deserving children come true. Give today.” The ad also included a Kids’ Wishes Fund logo.
     Each study participant in one group was then instructed to imagine the cashier asked if they wanted to make a donation to the charity. Study participants in the second group were not instructed to imagine the cashier asked them if they wanted to donate.
     Compared to those in the first group, people in this second group reported feeling less intruded upon. They also had a higher donation rate along with more positive attitudes toward the store and greater willingness for future donations to the charity.
     The written solicitation in this San Diego State University study used a typewritten-style font. Results of another set of studies, conducted by researchers at Nanjing University, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Shanghai Tech University indicate that donation amounts are higher if a handwriting-style font is used. Amounts deposited in donation boxes located in some stores in Taiwan were greater when the solicitation used actual handwriting than when a typewritten Mandarin character font was used. Another of the studies, using a real charity (Save the Children Fund) and American participants found that self-reported donation likelihood was higher when a handwriting-style font (My Lucky Penny) was used for the solicitation text than when a typewritten-style font (Times New Roman) was used.
     The researchers’ explanation for their findings is that handwriting-style fonts establish a higher level of connectedness to a charity than do typewritten-style fonts. This explanation is consistent with other studies showing the persuasion advantages of handwriting.

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See the Handwriting at the Mall 

Monday, April 3, 2023

Cozy Up to Nostalgic Advertising

When the temperature is comfortably warm, your shoppers become more receptive to advertising which appeals to nostalgia. This finding, from researchers at Tampere University, Aalto University School of Business, and Southwest Jiaotong University, can guide marketers in choosing merchandise to feature, marketing angles to employ, and shopping temperatures to maintain.
     Nostalgia is a person’s desire for the past or attraction to merchandise and activities associated with a pleasant past. Prior research had found that nostalgia generates feelings of psychological warmth.
     Personal nostalgia is a yearning based on a consumer’s own experiences, while historical nostalgia is based on associations with a prior era which a consumer did not themselves experience. The personal nostalgia advertising text used in the studies read in part, “It was a special childhood. In my impression, I was simple, cute, and happy at that time… Return to those times with COTON.” The historical nostalgia advertising text read in part, “It was a special age. In my imagination, people at that time were pure and kind, lovely and persistent…. Return to those times with COTON.”
     Study participants browsing the ad in a comfortably warm temperature reported more positive attitudes toward it than did those browsing the ad at a comfortably cool temperature. The two temperatures were about 81⁰ and 68⁰ Fahrenheit. This was true with both the personal nostalgia and the historical nostalgia ads. But in another of the studies, an uncomfortably hot temperature of about 95⁰ resulted in less positive evaluations of both types of nostalgia ad compared to the results with an uncomfortably cold temperature of about 41⁰.
     The explanation for these findings is that, in a comfortable temperature range, bodily warmth triggers psychological warmth, leading to greater willingness to engage with ads. However, when the temperature is uncomfortably cold, a person finds relief in the warmth generated by a nostalgic ad.
     Beyond stimulating nostalgia appeal, thinking about warm temperatures increases shoppers’ willingness to pay, according to a study at Clicksuasion Labs in North Carolina, University of Auckland, and Western Sydney University. This effect is strongest when consumers are making purchase decisions with only sparse information.
     Notice how that study explored results of thinking about warm temperatures, not providing warm temperatures in the store. It’s a distinction important during this era we probably won’t look back on with nostalgic fondness in which cranking up the heater burns through your business profitability at an inflated pace.

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Indulge in Group Nostalgia