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By Joshua Snape | 12/11/2017 9:20 AM

The answer is found in the irrationality of people’s behaviour. The science of behavioural analytics gives us the ability to predict both rational and irrational behaviour patterns, which represents a significant opportunity for marketers to increase their companies’ profits.

Behavioral Analytics

Conventional wisdom dictates that the less effort the customer puts into the acquisition of your product the more satisfied he will be. While the essence of this is true, behavioural analytics gives you a more sophisticated and well-rounded perspective.

To give an example, behavioural analytics guru, Dan Ariely tells the story of a couple of colourful chests of drawers that he purchased from Ikea to hold his kids’ toys. Having painstakingly put them together in the usual fashion with all the accompanying frustration he notes that many years later and despite several house moves he has never been able to part with those chests of drawers and that his affection for them is disproportionate to their actual value.

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He refers to it as the IKEA effect. So what is the IKEA effect? Simply explained, our liking for something is enhanced by the amount of effort we put into it. What this means is that the more consumers are emotionally invested in your product, the greater their attachment will be to your brand. You will have a lifelong customer.

He gives another example, cake mixes. When cake mixes were first introduced into the marketplace in the 1930’s the thought was that they would be extremely popular with housewives. The fact is they were not. At first, it was thought that it was the taste that was the problem but this was not the case. Then there was the egg theory-and this finally cracked it! (Sorry).

The theory was this: since the cake mixes contained powdered eggs and milk, it was speculated that the cooks did not feel that they could really take credit for what was presented to guests. It was assumed that they did not feel any ownership for the cake, so what happened when the egg powder and the milk powder were taken out of the recipe and now regular milk and eggs had to put in by the one preparing the cake? All of a sudden cake mixes became wildly popular.

What conclusion can we draw? As Dr. Ariely concludes, something that requires a little more effort will engage your customers more. You just have to find a way to emotionally involve your customers in your product or service.

For example you might develop an advocate appreciation system. Why not reach out to customers and invite them to contact you with stories of how they have benefited from your product or service? How they have been an advocate of your brand? Then reward your advocates in different ways. You could offer, discounts or free samples, privileged access to your services, or make a charitable donation in their name. The key is to open a dialogue with your best customers and make them part of your business family. The more you get them working on your behalf, the more they will love you and your product or service.

Find the Sweet Spot

Ariely does caution however, that there is a tipping point, when too much effort is required, which can turn off your customers and they give up.

For example, in May 2017, Mercedes Benz sent out a 77 question survey to owners. Yes you read that correctly – 77 questions! Clearly this was way beyond the tipping point.

Your challenge as a marketer then is to determine that sweet spot between the right amount of effort that brings with it a perception of value and attachment to your product or service, and too much effort, which will cause your customers to give up on your offering.

Why not schedule a time right now to discuss these points with Strategis Consulting, as we can help you capitalize on the rational and irrational behaviour of customers.


Source: The IKEA Effect, by Dan Ariely

Josh SnapeJoshua is an accomplished writer, blogger and marketing consultant. His successful track record includes sales and marketing across four continents—Europe, N. America, the Middle East and Africa. Josh is also a successful entrepreneur and established his own marketing consultancy in Cyprus, which serviced clients throughout the Middle East.  He now enjoys living and working in Vancouver for part of the year, and spends the rest of his time in the Turkish Riviera working remotely to assist clients communicate effectively in a wired world.  Connect with Josh at: