Research Highlights - September 2020

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How can you use the findings from the latest research studies to improve your performance and the performance of your organization? We’ll provide the highlights and key ideas you won’t get anywhere else.

New research from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has important implications for various forms of marketing communications. Lets say a prospect wants to purchase an item and he is comparing two different advertisements. In one, the font, colors, and layout make the information easy to read. The other has an obscure style that takes more time for you to understand. Interestingly, if he decides to purchase the item with a more confusing advertisement, the new research shows that, over time, he probably be happier with his choice.

The researchers found that so-called disfluency, or the difficulty for an individual to process a message, improves people’s attitudes toward that message after a time delay.

This research has a real-life impact.  Most of the time, marketing communicators try to make their message as clear and easy to access as possible. What the researchers learned, however, is that there are certain times, especially when people need to make choices, when marketers should actually use disfluent stimuli so that prospects will like whatever they are choosing, once time has passed.

Using primary data collected from 500 diverse individuals, the researchers also found that consumers misattribute the time spent in the decision-making process. Rather than recognizing that the lengthy decision came from trying to understand the information when looking back on the process, consumers instead believe they spent the time on making the decision. This leads the consumer to believe the decision they made was informed and worthy.

Consider the implications for marketing communications. When people are making decisions be it choosing between insurance products, retirement funds, or even choosing an elected official, marketers and designers need to remember that if they can make the prospect spend some time in that choosing process, it’s more likely they will stick with the option they chose over time.

The researchers suggest that when consumers’ attitudes about product improvement, the impact...

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