Jul 30 | Dan, Creative Director
According to the old adage, “free” is one of the most powerful words in the language of advertising and marketing. A study by M.I.T. behavioral economist Dan Ariely confirms this in an interesting way. To quote from “Priced to Sell,” an article in the July 6/13, 2009 edition of The New Yorker:
Ariely offered a group of subjects a choice between two kinds of chocolates—Hershey’s Kisses, for one cent, and Lindt truffles, for fifteen cents. Three-quarters of the subjects chose the truffles. Then he redid the experiment, reducing the price of both chocolates by one cent. The Kisses were now free. What happened? The order of preference was reversed. Sixty-nine percent of the subjects chose the Kisses. The price difference between the two chocolates was exactly the same, but the magic word “free” has the power to create a consumer stampede.
From seventy-five percent Lindt to sixty-nine percent Hershey’s Kisses: that’s a huge swing—and powerful testimony to the power of FREE!
Now, whether you make Hershey’s Kisses or widgets, no one’s suggesting you give ‘em away free. But when the opportunity arises to connect with your customers by offering something of value for free (free samples, free inspections, free consultations, free information and on and on)—take the opportunity. Use the power of free to strengthen the bonds between your products and services and your customers.