How to Build Loyalty to Suggestions, Ideas, and Offerings

I loved this advice on persuasion and influence. In a sentence, people are more loyal toward your offering if they feel like they’ve already made progress toward receiving the ultimate reward. Excerpt:

In one study, loyalty cards were handed out to three hundred customers of a local car wash. The customers were told that every time they bought a car wash, their loyalty card would be stamped. However, there were two types of cards. One type of card stated that eight stamps were required to receive a free car wash, and no stamps were attached to the card. The other kind of card stated that ten stamps were required to receive the free wash, but two stamps were already affixed to the card. This meant that both cards required eight purchases to receive the award, but the second group seemed well on its way to completing the card with 20% of the stamps needed for the free wash.

It’s more effective to give people a 10 stamp card with two stamps already adhered, instead of an 8 stamp card with nothing on it.

How can you make people feel "well on their way" toward your desired outcome?

Thanks Chris for the pointer.

6 comments on “How to Build Loyalty to Suggestions, Ideas, and Offerings
  • Besides just making customers feel like they’ve already made progress, I’d say giving them a “sample” of the reward could help. Using the car wash example, make the next wash free, as long as they bring it with them. Maybe that’s just shortening the time until the payback, but it’s something to think about.

  • This is a concept that has been pondered in the scope of many economic development programs. The question tends to be, ‘we’re stepping into community x and spending a vast amount of our time and resources to implement program y, how can we instill a sense of ownership in the community members for this project so that they’ll continue it when we high-tail it to the next issue…’

    “Philanthropic people lose all sense of humanity. It is their distinguishing characteristic.” -Oscar Wilde

    …You should check out the work of Edward Miguel from UCB. He’s suggested novel solutions in his papers that address the work he’s doing/done in Africa.

  • Nifty concept. I wonder if “Free Trial” is an offshoot of this, in the sense that it makes people feel they’re getting more value than what they’ve put in, i.e., 0.

  • Not very surprising when you think about it. Teachers do this all the time when they tell you that you aren’t starting from scratch on an essay. It’s purely a mind trick. Of course I dislike it because it encourages government, business, whatever higher authority to give the illusion of giving to a lower authority (and therefore creates a sense of mental dependency when no such dependency is wanted). Still, a very interesting question.

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