The danger in 'reasons to buy'

The findings of Tybout and her colleagues suggest that practitioners should exercise caution when developing messages that seek to engage the audience by challenging people to generate reasons to buy their products. The optimal number of reasons that should be requested may vary as a function of the target audience’s knowledge base. Requesting a large, rather than a small, number of reasons may increase liking for the product if the target audience is composed of either novices or experts.

However, this strategy may backfire if the target audience has moderate knowledge. The authors’ research also suggests an approach that may succeed regardless of the level of knowledge. In one of their studies, they show that playfully asking participants to “imagine” reasons (rather than challenging them to think of reasons) results in equally high evaluations regardless of whether one or 10 reasons are requested from moderate-knowledge participants. It seems that a more creative, genial frame makes generating even 10 reasons seem easy. Thus, a subtle change in wording may make more reasons superior to fewer regardless of whether consumers think about the retrieval ease or the content.

More generally, the research suggests that responses to persuasive messages are based not only on information people have about a brand but also on their reflections about the process by which their judgements were made.

Read the complete article here.


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