All of us have an inherent desire to do and have the next best thing. If we don’t, but our neighbor (or competitor) does, we feel envy. This concept is what author/blogger Steve Martin suggests in his recent Harvard Business Review article “Stop Listening to Your Customers”. Martin discusses the realization that customers do not really know why they act certain ways or have certain buying tendencies. However, research has shown that people act in response to how friends, neighbors, or even strangers act, even though none of us will ever admit it.
Martin references a study completed in the New York City subway where a street musician was playing. The researchers first took a count of the percentage of people who gave money to the musician. Then, the researchers planted a person to drop a few coins into the musician’s hat before another approaching commuter came upon the musician. Having witnessed one person giving money, many others followed suit, which was not always the case in the control study. The study showed that people seeing someone else doing an act (here, of kindness) motivated them to do the same (i.e. wow, s/he just gave him money, maybe I should too).
Why does this matter to our Turnkey Intelligence clients? Simple – marketing strategy. Similar research suggests that employing consumer messaging that references how others behave compels action. Consider the following modifications:
- “Buy your tickets for Opening Day today” could be “25,000 other people have already purchased Opening Day tickets. Have you?”
- “Consider a customized team jersey for your loved ones” could be “Thousands of fans have already bought customized jerseys for their loved ones; don’t delay!” (After all, you don’t want your loved ones to be the people without the jerseys, do you?)
Not sure if you want to restructure your messaging? Or what options would work best? Consider a research study with your fans and customers. After all, that’s what the Joneses are doing.