Marketing psychology studies consumer behavior to find out the reasons and influences behind people buying stuff. And just as with any body of knowledge, it can be used well, or to take advantage of others.
- How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds —from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist (Tristan Harris)
A hard-wired human trait that marketers take advantage of is loss aversion.
One of the hardest instincts to overcome, loss aversion can be explained like this: It’s scarier to think of losing something that you already have, than it is to consider a possibly risky action to get something you want but don’t have yet. What you have is yours. A threat to it, or a hint of losing it, will hit you harder than losing a chance to gain something else.
Fear is a very strong motivator to hold onto things. When you have something, you have it: you can touch it, look it up, console yourself that it’s in storage. You know it’s there, you know you have it, and that knowledge keeps your stable world view secure. It also gives you some peace of mind that you have control.
Witness hoarders from the minimalist to the extremists, and how the storage industry helps people hide more stuff than they can fit into their homes. Think of the data storage industry and how it uses assurance to assuage people’s worries about data protection. In your own home there’s the catch-all drawer, and, well, how many old, busted umbrellas do you have hanging around somewhere?
No one likes losing stuff. Marketers from every niche and industry know it, that’s why there’s insurance for damn near everything. People also buy stuff motivated by the need to protect the things they already have.
All of that being said, how can use you use the power of loss aversion for yourself?
Knowledge is power, and now that you’re aware of how the threat of loss can affect your decisions, even subconsciously, how can you use that power to work in your favor?
Continue reading How To Manage Change Using Loss Aversion