On What Is Word Of Mouth Advertising? post we talk about one of the long-lasting while still impactful marketing techniques of today. The second one is based on the principle of reciprocity. Humans work in two different modes. One in which we consciously make decisions based on the best action to take in order to meet our goals. That’s the logical side. The other part of us is the emotional side. As opposed to popular belief, the emotional side can also help us make good decisions. The difference between the two is that while the decisions we make based on logic focus on looking at all possibilities carefully and choosing the best of them, the emotional side will focus on the most likely to be the best choice based on previous experiences, these are called hunches or gut feelings. The first mode is slow and the second fast.
The second mechanism of decision-making relies on biases to make the decision. Advertisers often try to tap into their costumers’ biases in order to make their products more appealing to them. One of those biases is the reciprocity bias.
What is the principle of reciprocity?
The principle of reciprocity is based on the reciprocity bias that states that once someone does us a favor, in any way we tend to feel the need to reciprocate the favor no matter how small it was. Cars salesmans do that regularly. They offer you a drink for free and you leave the store with a car key.
This principle is also applied in advertising campaigns for email marketing. A good way to make a person give you their email is by giving them a gift first. That gift could be something as small as a free e-book that they can you will send to them once you give out your email address or even the first class of the online course you’re promoting for free. What makes the reciprocity principle so powerful in marketing is that once someone is in the receiving end of a gift or a favor, there is no limit to how much they give back. As said before, its pretty common for a sales person to offer you a small gift and as a way to return the favor, you buy their product.
The effects of the reciprocity bias are subtle, meaning we tend to not notice that it has an impact on our decisions, and this is one of the reasons why its probably still effective today as it was in the past. Try it and see for yourself :).
It is all about knowledge and experience 😉
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