Curating choice: how smart marketers help consumers decide

Kevin Palmstein, Mobile/Web Application Product Management Leader

When designing promotional marketing campaigns, there are some areas in which too much of a good thing is just about right. You can never be too fast, too creative or too accurate. In the area of choice, however, you need to aim for just the right balance. While it’s possible to overwhelm participants with too many choices, they can often find it frustrating to have too few options.

The Goldilocks conundrum
In these hyper-personalized times, consumers have become accustomed to having their own customized experiences when shopping online, visiting a retail location or participating in an enter-to-win, sweepstakes or refer-a-friend activity. They want to be able to choose how and when they are rewarded. For example, while cash is certainly a motivator in many instances, consumers may respond even more positively to the opportunity to have an experience instead, especially one they might not otherwise choose for themselves. A well-curated and on-target merchandise selection might create a higher perceived value than a cash reward alone.

Even with consumers’ growing desire for choice, there is another side to the equation that must be considered, and that’s the reason for the reference to Goldilocks, that little girl who liked things only when they were “just right.”

Even while everyone says they want as much choice as possible, consumers who are offered TOO many options can begin to feel overwhelmed. Research points to the very real phenomenon of “choice overload” [https://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/what-predicts-consumer-choice-overload] — the negative psychological, emotional, and behavioral effects of having too many options from which to choose. Behavioral scientists say that choice overload create dissatisfaction or behavioral paralysis that can contribute to no decision being made at all.

Finding balance
Here at YA, we keep the “Goldilocks factor” in mind when designing promotional marketing campaigns. For example, we look to behavioral cues to tell us how participants want us to communicate with them. We notice if we’re hearing from them via phone, email or text, for example, and use that to dictate the platform for future communications. That’s a much more seamless method than insisting they fill out a contact/communications form online.

We allow consumers to guide us toward what they want in other ways, too. For example, we might structure the reward portion of a program to have a limited, but highly appealing, selection. We call upon our 40+ years of expertise, plus our deep pockets of participant data, to curate rewards that are truly appealing to the intended audience. Whatever area of a program we’re designing, we make sure to balance consumers’ desire for choice with their need to make quick, easy decisions. And we make sure to check in frequently on program data to ensure we’ve got the right mix for marketing success.

Let’s talk
If you’d like to learn more about how YA can turn even first-time customers into loyal brand advocates who take action, buy more and spread the word, please contact me to begin the conversation.

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