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Motivating People To Buy

Imagine you have taken your children on a day trip to the seaside. It’s the perfect day, the sun is shining, the waves are lapping the shore and you’re having a day that you’ll never forget. There is a new gelato shop across the street selling home made ices at $5 a scoop. Clearly as a day-tripper you are already motivated and probably have the ability to pay $20 for a family treat on a day out. There’s nothing to stop you crossing the street, but you don’t.

Buying is often mistakenly seen as an act—something done in the moment or in isolation. Buying is actually a behaviour that is something that’s done in response to either internal or external stimuli. The job of the marketer then is to encourage or induce that behaviour. Marketers mostly focus on trying to increase peoples’ motivation to buy. That’s what the creative directors and copywriters of the Mad Men era were employed to do. To make people want things.

As BJ Fogg points out in the Fogg Behaviour Model— behaviour is driven by three factors and motivation is just one of them. Motivation in isolation without the ability and trigger cannot change behaviour.


Fogg Behavior Model

Back to the beach…..the guy who makes the amazing gelato opens the shop door at 11am.
He hopes that customers will be tempted inside by the heat of the midday sun. Thirty minutes later the tinny sound of ‘Greensleeves’ playing in the distance, signals the arrival of the Mr Whippy van on the street corner. Suddenly children who were happily digging in the sand stop and ask for an ice cream. All along the beach a small, synchronized ripple of movement begins as people react, reaching for wallets and covering up with towels as they head over to line up at the ice cream van.

It isn’t necessarily the person with the best idea who wins, it’s the person with the greatest understanding about what matters to people and how that translates to an opportunity to serve and delight them.

Image by Sheree Kozel-La Ha.