Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Want to know the secret to make customers buy from you? Have you ever thought about using psychology? Marketers use a technique called nudge marketing when trying to influence customer behaviour.
What is nudge marketing?
A subtle way to to help your customers make decisions quickly
psychological tricks that influence consumer behaviour to make individuals think they are making a free choice, when really they aren’t.
One sounds a lot more acceptable than the other doesn’t it?! But both definitions are used to explain how marketers use certain tools to help influence buyer behaviour both online and offline.
If you haven’t come across the term specificially it’s highly likely you will have experienced it first-hand without knowing. The aim of nudge marketing is to get you to behave in a certain way by exposing you to a careful selection of marketing messages delivered through targeted marketing communications.
As we all know, one of marketing’s key objectives is to make profitable sales. We want to encourage you to buy from us. We want you to identify with us. Believe our product is of a better quality than another. Want you to like its design or delivery mechanism. But we also want to make it as easy as possible for you to buy it. So, we design the purchase journey in a way that will appeal to you and make your life easier when it comes to making the “right” choice.
Which, of course, is to buy our product. Not someone else’s.
Put very simply this is nudge marketing. Doesn’t sound all that bad does it? Surely that’s just good business practice? Some businesses do it more more subtly than others.
When nudge marketing goes wrong
Recently I came across a classic implementation of nudge marketing that falls into the less subtle category. In my opinion at least. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it, but personally it put me off making the purchase.
With lockdown in full force here (I currently live in the Slovak Republic) I thought I’d take the opportunity of having more free time to start learning Spanish. I did a bit of research on YouTube and found a channel which I liked the sound of. I promptly followed their carefully placed calls to action and signed up for the newsletter.
Tick. Goal achieved (by both parties).
Then as the reality of homeschool kicked in (I ended up with less free time, oh the irony) I didn’t sign up for the course that was being frequently promoted to me via email. As time went on the emails got a little more ‘excitable’ – offering “30% discount for TODAY ONLY, just click here” and “lifetime access for just £XXX, just click here”.
I still haven’t signed up.
It’s getting a little bit annoying and making me question whether it’s actually worth the original price. It’s likely I’ll end up unsubscribing. But I am quite sensitive to this type of behaviour. Maybe their metrics (remember it’s all about the metrics) show that using nudge marketing increases the number of signs up and orders
I will still be able to make you buy something
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I don’t agree with nudge marketing. I believe it has an important place in your marketing strategy, especially via digital, when implemented in a way that doesn’t annoy your customers. Again refer back to what your customer data and metrics say about your target audience. A good example is Amazon’s buying options tab. Personally I don’t find it invasive and it helps me place my order easily and quickly with them, instead of going off to look for another supplier. A lot of websites use nudge marketing techniques very effectively. They’re quite quick to implement and a good way to test the effects on consumer behaviour.
If you’re considering using nudge marketing I’d suggest looking for real life examples. It’s always interesting to see how other people apply techniques and theories in practice. Plus it gives you a feel for what you might be comfortable, or not comfortable, with.
If you want to find out more read this excellent post on nudge marketing from CXL. It goes into greater depth and provides some real life examples. You could also read Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler available from Amazon. Other book stores are available 😉