What awful product has excellent marketing

on. It's really bad if a friend or colleague even substantiates the concern. Then the search begins: And often you still find a point of view on the Internet that underpins your own decision and relieves us. But what happens when self-doubts arise during the decision-making process? It is precisely then that people prefer to postpone a purchase or choose the supposedly "safe" solution. It's only annoying when your own product is neglected.

A terrible condition: cognitive dissonance

In psychology, the phenomenon of "unloved self-doubt" has been known for decades. It is called cognitive dissonance (from cognitive = thoughts and dissonance = discord) [1]: Wherever possible, people try to avoid this state.

An example

The social psychologist Ellen Langer [2] has a very interesting one in a university library experiment made. She instructed students to get in front of a very long line in front of a copier as much as possible. The individual test persons should of course not use force, only verbal persuasion Afford. There were three alternatives to choose from:

  • "Will you let me in front?"
  • "May I go before? I have to make copies now.
  • "Please let me out. My professor needs these copies badly.

Which alternative do you think was the most successful?

Of course, option 3. Almost all students gave the test subjects the relatively credible explanation of the professor's need for copies. The first request, however, completely missed the target. Less than half let these test subjects in. It is interesting that even the ridiculous explanation "I have to make copies" still convinced over 90% of the students to let the requesters out.


Harmony in the head = satisfaction

People hate it when their actions conflict with theirs Beliefs is located. Whenever possible, we want our decisions to be in line with our thinking.

In everything we do, we secretly hold ourselves accountable for whether we are doing the right thing. Almost all people do not believe that someone is pushing their way without giving a comprehensible reason Unison with their beliefs. There is cognitive dissonance. The situation is different, however, if you get a comprehensible reason. Then there is ours again conscience in line with what we do and we put someone in line who seems to have a more pressing need for copies.

But what does that have to do with marketing?


Cognitive dissonance in purchasing decisions

When people make a purchase decision, they need to be comprehensible and mostly rational before and after the purchase reasons for doing the right thing. At first glance, that may sound succinct and self-evident. After all, everyone tries to make a sensible decision when purchasing a product. But that is usually not the problem at all. Crucial for that Understanding human behavior is not that we make a sensible decision, but one that appears to us and the people around us as such. The choice of a provider or the decision to buy a digital camera therefore does not have to be generally rational, it just has to be consistent to our self-image, our opinion and our knowledge regarding the products. This fact has a significant impact on marketing.


Online buying and cognitive dissonance

For example, let's take a typical online purchase process:

Someone wants to buy a DVD player. Ask a friend beforehand about the best technology and useful connections to advise. Then he surfs the net a little. A picture of a good design, a suitable color and a maximum price is formed in the head. After all, he goes to a trusted online shop and, after comparing prices, orders a DVD player from a well-known brand.

After placing the order, he talks to another buddy about his purchase that evening. During the conversation, however, it turns out that the ordered DVD player only reads "German" DVDs (i.e. it only refers to a regional code and does not have an NTSC-PAL converter) and so the English films acquired on the last New York trip cannot play. The consequence, a dilemma: On the one hand, the player purchased offers very good technology, a top design and the required connections, on the other hand, it cannot play all films.

The consequences of such a situation are usually not serious for an online retailer. The pursuit of cognitive Avoidance of dissonance Makes the buyer convince themselves that their first decision was correct. He is therefore looking for reasons that confirm his choice, such as the fact that there was no DVD player of the desired brand that reads all DVDs, or that he can watch the English films on his notebook.

Much more decisive for online marketing than the self-doubt after a purchase is that cognitive dissonance already arises in the purchase process, because then the buyer has not yet made a decision. Consequently, a cognitive dissonance arises in the case of contradicting findings, but it tends to lead to one Order cancellation or one Order deferral leads, since the consumer needs more time to form his opinion and act again in accordance with his beliefs. However, it is rather questionable whether the potential customer will end up at the same shop where they wanted to order before. Hence this means for internet marketing


Avoid cognitive dissonance, whatever comes

The core of successful internet marketing is to forestall the emergence of self-doubt whenever possible. There are 4 basic rules to be followed

  1. inform in detail
  2. encourage quick decisions
  3. avoid conflicting information and
  4. provide understandable reasons for a purchase


But what does that mean in concrete terms for marketing practice?

The following Strategies and tactics summarize examples of what you have to pay attention to in the context of dissonance avoidance and which procedures help to make your website an even more attractive pole on the WWW:


Informative shopping guide

Not all online shoppers have a clear opinion about what to buy and why. For example, when it comes to choosing a gift, many long for a helping hand. However, many online shops and online service providers do not use guides that help customers make a good and sensible decision.

It is important regardless of the informative scope of a guide Reasons to buy of the one and the other product. This is precisely why it is easier for people to make a decision without cognitive dissonance occurring.

The Alternate guides, for example, are very extensive. The online shop offers dozens of pages of helpful explanations and FAQs for almost all products for each relevant category [3].

How easy to get a meaningful guide shape can, shows the DVD section from Amazon. In addition to film studio and annual DVD overviews, the online retailer also offers a list of all Oscar winners since 1929, available on DVD. There is no easier way to formulate a reason to buy.

Many short guides simplify the product selection on Amazon(Source: Amazon.de)


Link forums and product FAQs

Especially in the run-up to a purchase, many customers have important questions, e.g .:

  • What are the advantages of this technology, what are the disadvantages?
  • Which brand is the current market leader?
  • How reliable are individual components in the long term?
  • Etc.

As a rule, no product description provides answers to questions of this kind. But they are absolutely necessary to avoid dissonance. To the Risk of bad buy To reduce this, more and more users are trying their luck in forums. In the hope that their own question has already been answered, many consumers use the search function and scroll through the results or simply post their own question.

Even if forums from the customer's point of view are high useful it means too much effort to set up their own forum for most online shops. Not to mention one critical mass to inspire users who regularly participate in discussions. Nevertheless, it makes sense to fall back on the collective knowledge of a topic-specific community.

Although most online retailers are aware of the benefits of forum knowledge, very few add meaningful questions and answers from the community to their product FAQs on the respective product type. It can do just this Knowledge result in an otherwise "lost" customer staying in the shop and placing his order.

If you "take over" information from a forum, this should only be done in agreement with the respective forum operator. A cooperation From which everyone benefits, is always preferable to a one-sided solution. As a shop operator, you could offer to link the forum with the sentence "Still an open question? Ask it on xyzforum.de" at the end of each FAQ. This not only gives a plus in visitors to the forum, but also a bonus for them Link popularity. In addition, this would have another positive effect: Users who reach the forum via the product FAQs are more likely to post new and qualified questions, as more ignorant consumers. In addition to the collective knowledge of the community, cooperation also offers other advantages for online retailers: personal contact with the experts from the individual categories of the forum makes the selection of relevant and good threads (discussions) a lot easier.


Top ten lists / sales rank / test results

In order to facilitate quick purchase decisions, it makes sense to show a sales rank for all products. For one, the user can make his decision to buy with a high Sales rank justify (after all, the mass of buyers will not be wrong) on ​​the other hand, this is also an excellent reason to make your choice over others and yourself afterwards justify ("After all, the product was among the 10 best-selling last week.") [4].

The logos of positive test results that the product has achieved also belong on every product overview page. The reason: Awards reduce the Purchase worthiness of a product on a relevant characteristic - the test result. It summarizes the quality of the product in all relevant performance categories (test criteria) in one judgment.


Many awards are a good reason to buy (source: amazon.de)

In order not to lose potential customers, you should not link the entire test result, but rather a larger image of the award at most. Otherwise, you run the risk that users may no longer find their way back to your shop.

But how do you know which product has received which award? Of course, it is best to know about the award-winning companies themselves. However, if you don't want to ask the press department of each manufacturer in their catalog, a number of test portals now offer product-related overviews of the awards won, such as:


Avoid contradictions

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from a publisher offering to test their online premium offer for 14 days at a price of EUR 10.00. A tempting offer in itself - but the linked registration page only contained information on two very expensive tariffs (including the described premium offer for over 400.00 euros per year). Of course, I figured that the publisher just wanted to save the hassle of having a separate login page for testers conceive and I should just sign up for the more expensive tariff. Still, I didn't and wrote an email to the publisher asking for clarification. It can be assumed that many other journalists did not even bother to inquire, but rather rejected the offer due to the contradiction.

This quick example shows how powerful cognitive dissonance is. Although the offer would only have been billed at EUR 10.00 afterwards (after all, the email offer would remain as evidence), many people shy away from a quick decision in the event of an obvious contradiction.

In order not to become a victim of canceled orders, it is worth taking another closer look at your own online offer. First of all, go through all of your e-mail traffic over the past year for evidence that users have complained about problems with your website or your order process that suggest contradictions in your texts or offers. There are usually many here obvious blunders. To be on the safe side, a person who belongs to your target group and who is best seeing their site for the first time should then check your entire website for contradictions and problems search to let.


Give your customers a reason to buy from you

When a consumer visits an online shop for the first time, it is not only the price and delivery conditions that are important to them, but also that Overall picture of the website and the company. Many web shops therefore offer an "About Us" page on which the company history is told and a few pictures of the headquarters and / or the employees are shown. Some shops also name a few key figures. Of course, such information is absolutely necessary so that customers can get an idea of ​​your company for themselves, but knowing about the problem of cognitive dissonance, one should go a step further. Pick up the booklet yourself and offer Give your customers a "Why you should buy from us" section. Here you can, for example, list

  • how safe your shop is,
  • how many people have ordered from you in the last year,
  • how quickly customers receive your goods from you,
  • Etc.

It is also expedient in this context Customer praise (English. Testimonials) from satisfied customers who substantiate your statements in terms of content. However, testimonials are only credible if they are given their full name and / or location / link to the homepage (see "Praise from the brand X readers")


Don't just avoid dissonance

Whoever manages that his customers not only with their purchase decision happy but also deal with the choice of the online retailer satisfied appreciate that even in times of increased competitive pressure through price comparison services, it succeeds in retaining customers. Avoiding cognitive dissonance not only means making online shopping easier, but also giving your customers a reason to value what they have online.