All It Takes is a Little Nudge

Hiring marketing or content marketing talent?People may sometimes think about marketing as the process of convincing someone to buy something they may not be initially inclined to purchase. Maybe it’s luring a customer away from a competitor or convincing someone to buy something they don’t really need.

From a more marketing-friendly perspective, though, the process could be seen as educating a consumer on the genuine value you can offer them. Regardless of how it’s characterized, marketing often involves a fairly significant change in a potential customer’s outlook – from changing brand loyalties to learning about the benefits of a product or service. But what if it marketing didn’t need to have such a significant impact to be effective?

That’s exactly the question that gained Richard Thaler international renown. In an article for the AMA, Hal Conick discusses the theory that earned economist Richard Thaler the 2017 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences – nudge theory. “This use of ‘nudge,’ coined by Thaler and legal scholar Cass Sunstein in their 2008 book Nudge, is the potential to alter someone’s behavior without nixing any of their options or changing their economic incentives,” writes Conick. “One of Thaler’s favorite examples of a nudge is a small decal of a fly placed in a urinal at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. The fly decal improves men’s “aim”—the airport reported an 80 percent reduction in men’s room urine spillage after fly decals were installed in all urinals.”

Thaler’s work stands in contrast to traditional theories of rational economics – that consumers are rational actors that consider all available information, such as costs and benefits both present and future. But observations often prove this to be false. We are not perfectly-rational creatures. We can be “nudged” by subtle impulses to buy a lottery ticket, for instance, even though we rationally know the odds are astronomically against winning. We can be nudged to buy a candy bar in the checkout line even when we are trying to lose weight, and even though all of the other items in our shopping cart are healthy.

The fundamental premise of nudge theory is that indirect suggestions and subtle reinforcement can have measurable and significant impacts on the behavior and decision making of individuals and groups. The implications are profound for marketers as well as students of other disciplines from public policy to management to education.

What could you be doing to nudge consumers to buy your products or services?

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About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We are adept at evaluating and analyzing communication efforts and working with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content, through both on- and offline media to achieve desired results. Our background in business journalism, marketing, PR/media relations and online communications makes us well-positioned to serve the needs of 21st-century marketers.

We serve clients who are looking for help creating content for a wide array of channels—from social media posts to full-length manuscripts, and everything in between. We focus primarily on service-related B2B topics and work with a number of independent consultants interested in building their thought leadership through online channels. For ongoing content management, our first step is to fully understand your goals, objectives and competitive landscape.

Then we’ll conduct a thorough analysis and assessment of your digital presence, compared to competitors, and recommend a communication strategy to achieve your goals. But, we also regularly take on individual projects – white papers, blog posts, contributed articles, etc. If you’re interested in learning more, let us know!

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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