I' ve been reading up on one of my favorite topics, consumer behavior and how it can be influenced. From a marketing and game store point of view, you can use these methods, which date back almost 40 centuries of recorded history and are based on the concept of recipricosity, to influence your customers or conversely, recognize when they are being used on you. Without further ado:
1. Ask +Because—Just asking someone to do something for you can prove pretty powerful. It is rather amazing but people view you more favorably when you ask them to do something for you than when you offer to do something for them. To make the ask even more powerful, give them a reason why you want them to do something for you. It doesn’t have to be a good reason really, just a reason. “Because” appears a pretty powerful word. In one hidden study, people standing in line at a copy machine were asked by the experimenter if they could go first. Most of the time, the experimenter was told “No”. However, if the line cutter gave a reason such as “Could I go ahead of you because I need to get these done for my boss,”, over 70% of the time, the response was OK. In some cases, the line cutter even said “May I go ahead of you because I want to go ahead of you,” and over half the time the people in line would agree.
2. Foot in the Door—A small ask opens the door to a much larger one. Fairly often, one of the banks I do business with will offer me a $1000 life insurance policy at no charge. By accepting the offer, I give them the opportunity to come back later and pitch me a more expensive policy. WOTC’s D&D Starter Set is one of the best marketing tools any company in the gaming industry currently uses and is a wonderful example of using the “foot in the door”. Get people to try out a low cost version of the game, then, when they find they like it, upgrade them to the more expensive version.
3. Give a Gift—Giving a gift before making a big ask enhances the likelihood that the person you give the gift is more likely to say yes. This is why so many charities send you stuff like calendars, note pads, address labels etc. when sending a letting asking for a donation. The idea is, by giving you a small gift, you will be more responsive to the part of the letter asking for the donation. Over the past year, I have even seen charities move one step beyond that and small amounts of cash, a nickel, 50 cents, even a dollar or two with the plea that you send back the money to help them along with your donation.
All of these, as noted above are based on the concept of recipricosity. If someone does something nice for us, we are influenced to do something nice back. If they do something harmful to us, we feel justified in doing something harmful back. The concept has been codified back as far as Hammaurbi’s time, about 1754 BC and is still valid today.