Guess which movie gets watched last or returned unwatched?
You betcha, it’s usually the drama/classic. Oh the shame!
The thing is, unless I had added the high-brow movie to my “menu,” I’d likely have forgone the guilty pleasure of the action flick and just picked up the semi-respectable romantic comedy to watch with the wife.
Seems like recent scientific research shows it’s not just me and not limited to movies, either. Apparently, diners given the option of salad are 3 times more likely to order french fries than if salad wasn’t on the menu. Kind of counter-intuitive, when the healthy option spurs more unhealthy behavior.
But when you think about it, it kind of makes sense. The fact that you thought about ordering the salad – and intend to order the salad at the next meal – helps you justify the french fries now, just like renting Touch of Evil helps me justify actually watching X2. ‘Cause aren’t we all interested in eating desert now and working out later? Would drinking be nearly as popular if the hangover came before the high?
So how can this apply to your business? Lots of ways, I’d guess, but the 2 that come to mind are as follows:
1) Charging the self-aware more money for the privilege of being restricted to the straight and narrow. Chip and Dan Heath have an excellent article on this very strategy in the last issue of Fast Company. People want to offload responsibility and even choice in order to circumvent their own “desert first” tendencies, and they’ll often pay you to help them overcome their own worst tendencies.
2) Front loading the exciting stuff while reassuring prospective customers that the good-for-you stuff is available/on its way. Amazon Prime is so incredibly seductive because 2-day shipping is within most people’s impulse-buy time horizon. And it’s justifiable because, hey, shipping is free, and I’m sure I’ll get around to actually reading these books at some point, right? And thus my antilibrary grows.
If you sell services, give some thought on how you can implement these techniqes, both from a business strategy and a web copy standpoint.