Brainfluence (2012) explores the unconscious thoughts and motivations that influence our decision-making process, and offers tips and tricks on how savvy marketers can exploit them. By understanding the mechanisms that cause us to buy (or not buy), you can increase your sales while keeping your customers happier.
This is a Blinkist staff pick
“This book helped me become a better marketing manager by giving concrete examples on how to be more effective at getting a target audience’s attention. A great set of tools that applies to all industries. Awesome read!”
– Clément, Senior Performance Marketing Manager at Blinkist
We’ve all had the experience of buyer’s remorse, that feeling of regret after having made a purchase becomes. Sometimes it’s more than just a feeling – shopping can cause real pain.
Indeed, purchases themselves can activate the brain’s pain center. In a Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University experiment, subjects were presented with cash before being placed in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine to record their brain activity. They were then offered items at a certain price – some items were offered at a bargain and others were a raw deal.
Interestingly, researchers could accurately predict whether or not the subject would buy an item or keep the cash just by looking at his or her brain scans and seeing how much pain they were feeling.
However, it’s not just the amount of money we part with that’s important for the brain’s pain center, but also the context. For instance, losing 75 cents to a vending machine can be far more aggravating than spending thousands on a car.
So if you want to sell to even the most miserly tightwads, you’ll need to minimize the pain they feel when they buy. But how?
Above all else, you should make the price seem like a bargain, or at least appear fair. If you’re selling a $120 annual membership to your gym, you can make this amount seem smaller by selling it for “only $10 per month” or “33 cents per day.”
Similarly, appealing to important needs over unnecessary pleasures is a particularly good strategy for selling to tightwads. For example, a Carnegie Mellon University study began by using a survey to situate participants along the “Tightwad-Spendthrift Scale” and then offered massages, both in terms of a massage for pleasure and also as a way to relieve back pain. The results showed that tightwads were 26 percent less likely than the spendthrifts to buy a massage for pleasure, but when the massage was described as relieving back pain, tightwads were only 9 percent less likely to buy it.