They say "sell the sizzle, not the steak". It's not the product you're selling but the ideal of the whole package. Marketers know this, but Ogilvy's executive creative director Rory Sutherland, also IPA president, takes it a step further and urges advertising agencies: don't change the behaviour of consumers, rather the behavioural economics of the way you approach consumers.
Sutherland was speaking at the APA's International Content Summit in London and gave some very eye-opening insights.
He said marketing and advertising thinkers have been slow to move away from the assumption that simple "preference" for a particular product translates in sales. Rather than try to build that preference among consumers - loyalty schemes, focus on the brand, all that jazz - why not change the circumstances in which people decisions?
"Behavioural economics shows by and large that every decision people make... is massively affected close to the moment of decision by the context in which you decide," says Sutherland.
He asks: what are the triggers you can place in a retail environment that will convert interest to sales? The language used is important here. Sutherland gives the example of antibiotics: if a doctor might tell someone to take 30 white pills, one every day - but they would be more likely to take them if given 24 white pills and six of the same pills coloured blue. "Chunking" behaviour into segments produces better results.
Yet another example: Rolls Royce didn't sell their very expensive Phantom cars at a car show -alongside cheaper cars - they sold them at yacht shows. For him, our thinking of what things are worth based on "completely arbitrary anchors."
"They way to look at what you're doing is not about changing people's minds but creating complimentary value... delivery services add the complimentary service of online tracking and the whole is more valuable than the single thing on its own," he says.
From The Media Briefing