The Science Of Persuasion & Experiential Marketing

Mary-Jane OwenGuest Post by Mary-Jane Owen. With more than 25 years experience in high growth industries, Mary-Jane brings broad experience and an innovative perspective to her leadership role at Events Marketing.  You can connect with Mary-Jane on LinkedIn or Twitter.



We’ve seen the credit card sales reps at the airport, or inside some giant retailers. There are so many of them, everywhere. And they are looking to generate an immediate transaction for the brands and charities they represent.

If your brand relies on transactional activations, or field sales, you are aware how difficult it is to sustain momentum with these marketing campaigns. From consumer displeasure with the method, to high sales rep turnover, to inconsistent campaign performance, the practice is rife with expensive challenges for marketers. And one of the costs is what these practices do to the perception of your brand, particularly if you are a charity and using this method to fund raise.
Persuasion Experiential Marketing
However redesigning a program using the Science of Persuasion can rejuvenate your campaign. Much research has gone into the Psychology of Persuasion in recent decades and we’ve learned that it works by appealing to a set of fundamental human needs and drives. The outcomes are predictable, and its basic principles can be learned and applied. If the science is mastered and applied in an ethical way, your brand and experiential campaign will benefit immensely.

Here the Six Principles are explained:

People are more likely to buy from someone they like, or someone they are similar to. Make sure your team of Brand Ambassadors align with your ideal consumer, and are genuinely likeable. Include in their training methods to increase their likeability, such as identifying similarities with the consumer, and including genuine compliments early in the interaction.

People naturally want to repay in kind. This is why samples work so well. The small free gift warms the consumer to the brand, and the principle of reciprocity will increase the likelihood of a subsequent purchase. However the manner in which the sample is delivered is also important. The delivery needs to be personalized and have an element of surprise, such that the consumer feels special. Delivering the sample into the consumer’s hands in a thoughtful creative way will provoke in them the desire to invest back in the brand with a purchase at the next opportunity.

Social Proof
People take their cues from those around them, and will accept new information more favourably if the information comes from their peer group. Social media puts this principle to work with Facebook “Likes” and LinkedIn Testimonials. Invite a loyal customer to play a role in an active campaign!

This is the principle behind the very lucrative athlete brand management business. A less expensive way than hiring an athlete to endorse your brand is to incorporate two-rep calls where one of them is the expert. Alternatively have an expert on the team and readily available to speak with consumers at events. When using the principle of authority the key is in incorporating a purposeful introduction at the beginning of the conversation, making it clear to the consumer that they are speaking with an expert.

People want more of the things that they can get less of. Creating scarcity will elevate the perceived value of your offer. The Science of Persuasion has also taught us that when paired with “Loss Language” the scarcity effect is even stronger. This done by telling the consumer two things: what are the benefits of the product or experience, AND what will the consumer stand to lose by not acting on the information or offer. The scarcity principle can be built into a promotional offer, the limited availability of samples, the product knowledge of the brand ambassadors and event staff, and the event itself. The starting point is with a valuable offer, and then creatively enhancing that value with authentic scarcity.

People like to be consistent with things they’ve said or done in the past. The key to this principle is that people are more likely to exhibit consistent behaviour if they have actively, voluntarily and publically made their commitment previously. So if someone “goes on record” saying they’ll purchase a product, and especially if they’ve put it in writing, they are more likely to do so.