Marketing Tricks People Fall for Every Day
Easy is the best marketing ‘trick’ of all
People take the path of least resistance. They are programmed to do the easiest thing possible. It’s actually evolution at work: when survival means conserving calories, and the brain uses the most calories, people simply don’t turn on the brain if at all possible.
In marketing, that means making things easy for people. Make it easy to read a headline, because they’ll pass over the hard-to-read headline. They’ll pass over the hard-to-read font. More people will read black on white than white on black because black on white is easier. Make it easy to read or listen to an ad because they’ll stop reading or hit the remote control to avoid thinking.
Alexa is selling well because it’s easier to say, ‘play music’ than it is to open an app.
The website with the better UX (better means easier) outperforms the hard-to-use one.
In one experiment in the UK, a link to a tax form that could be filled out online produced 25% better tax compliance than a link to a form that was downloaded to be filled out and returned.
Salespeople that are easy to around sell more than their higher maintenance counterparts.
Putting “Gluten-Free” on the front of the package will make it sell better than making the buyer read the ingredients and the “easier” tricks continue.
These are just some of the marketing tricks, humans, in real life fall for every day. For the sake of understanding better how these tricks are broadly classified into different categories let’s take a look at how these are defined broadly in marketer’s terms:
THE GRUEN EFFECT
Nowadays we are accustomed to going to a shopping mall every time we need to buy something. In reality, such retail spaces are designed for impulse shopping. When you go to a store looking for socks and come out with a new shirt, it’s only partly your fault. Shops are trying to look so beautiful, so welcoming, the items so enticingly displayed and in such vast quantity, that the consumer will start buying compulsively. This is the Gruen Effect.
The Gruen effect is named after Victor Gruen, the architect of the world’s first fully enclosed shopping mall. Before Gruen, shopping malls consisted of detached single-story buildings, linked together by walkways. The architect managed to unite a multitude of shops under a single roof, creating a mazelike supermarket. The Gruen concept entails a perfectly safe world that is always warm, well-lit, and comfortable. A place without windows or clocks. Nowadays, nearly all shopping malls are built in this fashion. Such an environment causes people to fall into a state of disorientation and light trance, making them forget about the real purpose of their visit. Walking around a large shopping center, we seem to lose our ability to make sound decisions. As a result, we’re likely to make impulse purchases and spend more than we originally planned.
Every woman knows from bitter experience the hell of the changing room. You find the perfect dress, try it on and it looks sublime. Flattering, fitting, fabulous. Then you get home and look in your own mirror and discover it’s actually a disaster. Clothing stores effectively use lighting and “thinning” mirrors to make you look better and more appealing in your own eyes. In fact, you can buy an item that you loved in the store only to discover at home that it actually doesn’t fit you as well as you thought. Still, even when you are aware of it, the ploy works every time.
According to Dr. Melissa Kao, director of Magic Mirror which supplies innovative camera mirrors to retailers such as Harrods and River Island, shops sometimes employ tiny tricks to make you look as good as possible, which include tilting mirrors upwards that elongates the look of the body. The mirror may appear flat against the wall — but even a tilt of just a couple of millimeters can be enough to give a bit of extra length to the legs. Dr. Kao also says mirrors may have slightly different tints, some of which will give the face a healthier glow.
‘Shops often use a “ring flash” where strip lighting creates a halo effect — much like you’d see in those old-fashioned make-up mirrors set with bulbs. It gives a shadow-free reflection and an even complexion,’ she says. They say the camera never lies, but the truth is that changing room mirrors do.
Decoy pricing is a pricing method that is meant to force customer choice. When customers make a purchase they must often choose between products with different prices and attributes. And when a company decides to maximize the sales of one particular product, it often opts for what is known as a decoy pricing structure to influence the consumer in his purchasing decision. In this case, the “decoy” consists of either a slightly lower product price but with a much lower quality product, or on the contrary, a much higher price with a slightly higher quality product.
The decoy pricing strategy relies on two specific effects: the attraction effect and the compromise effect. In simple words, when there are only two options, consumers will tend to make decisions according to their personal preferences.
But when consumers are offered another strategic decoy option, they will be more likely to choose the more expensive of the two original options. To illustrate the concept, let’s have a look at the following example:
National Geographic ran an experiment to test how the decoy effect influences consumers to buy a large popcorn rather than a small or medium one. To begin with, they offered the first group of consumers a small bucket of popcorn for $3 or a large one for $7.
The result revealed that most of the consumers chose to buy the small bucket, due to their personal needs at that time. As for the second group, they decided to offer three options: a small bucket for $3, a medium bucket (the decoy) for $6.5, and a large one for $7.
This time, most of the consumers chose the large bucket because they saw value in more popcorn for only $0.5. The medium bucket was asymmetrically dominated by the large bucket. In other words, the decoy effect encouraged the consumers to go for the expensive option.
There are only two things you can do to increase the perceived $value of a product.
1. Increase Demand (natural)
2. Decrease Supply (artificial)
An increase in demand is what will happen naturally when you create great products at fair prices. Supply can be manipulated by the decision and often will be as is the case with Burberry, De Beers, Supreme, and Ferrari just to name a few. In fact, the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ is another perfect example, they’re only making 900 of them -globally.
When demand is higher than supply the perceived value of the underlying product increases. No matter how you go about doing it.
By burning their unsold merchandise Burberry maintained the over-inflated value of the products they sold, and at the same time increased the perceived $value for any of their future product launches.
Through artificial scarcity, we are manipulated to believe that X is more valuable and scarcer than what it actually is. Be it limited edition cars, designer clothing, or diamonds.
Thus, expensiveness is a relative notion. A decoy-priced product works by making other products look reasonably priced in comparison. This effectively forces the customer to make the “right” decision.
To shop wisely, one must not only evaluate a product but understand how it is being sold to them. Marketers study consumer psychology to figure out how to make you think that you need to buy their product.
So, before you buy your next item, take notice of the ways that companies are encouraging you to consume more than you actually need.