Saturday, July 12, 2008

When Virtue Is a Vice: Lay on the Guilt!

Harvard Business School assistant professor Anat Keinan and Columbia marketing professor Ran Kivetz write about their new study, When Virtue is a Vice.

“Our findings suggest that marketers of luxury products and leisure services could benefit from prompting consumers to predict their feelings in the future if they forgo the indulgent choice. (Bold added.) For instance, a travel company might ask customers to consider how they’ll feel about having passed up a family vacation package once the nest is empty.”

And a teacher might ask students to consider how they'll feel about having passed up a chance to learn to read, to earn more money without violating a law, to have people they don't know considerable them honorable, upright citizens, ....

And that's a reason for playing up the regret angle when promoting an intense, high-ticket lesson, at least to the extent to which selling and buying merchandise corresponds to making a commitment to learning something.

Highlight what they will miss, if they don't learn X, Y and Z. Let them choose if they want to live the life of Sex in the City, Our Town, or a victim on CSI. Then, you will be doing your students a favor by convincing them to indulge.

Thanks, Sean Silverthorne for pointing to this article. It has potential interest for classroom teachers as well as for merchandisers.