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How To Win In Marketing Using Regulatory Focus Theory (RFT)

How to convince people they want something they don’t need ?

In many sports (like test cricket, football, tennis) teams/ individuals have a clear plan. They play an attacking game or a defensive game.

And if you really think about it, most of us live our lives the same way.

We do things to “Win” or “Not to Lose”

How this psychology can be used by marketers ?

A person can become healthy by either doing physical activity and eating healthy food, or staying away from bad habits such as smoking or eating junk food.

So how should we frame our messages to align with our customers mindset and get that elusive sale?

Promotion ( need for advancement ) vs. Prevention ( need for security )

According to Tory Higgins, who formulated the social-psychological theory “Regulatory Focus Theory” ( RFT), you’re more likely to convince people to buy your product if your marketing message and strategy follows their mindset.

Messages and frames when presented as gains are more influential under a promotion focus.

And If they’re in a loss prevention mindset, you’ll have more success with loss prevention-focused messages & frames than with a win-focused message.

‘Gain frames’ in advertising (“Get energized”) lead to more favourable attitudes when the body of the advertising message is written in promotional terms (e.g. emphasizing the energy benefits of drinking grape juice)

Whilst ‘loss frames’ (“Don’t miss out on getting energized!”) have a more favourable effect when the main body of the ad focuses on prevention (e.g. stressing the cancer reduction benefits of drinking grape juice).

So remember RFT next time you sit to write your Fb ads, email campaigns or for that matter sales page. 

How RFT Can Make Your Google Ads 6X More Powerful?

RFT principles may be applied to search engine marketing, as the search terms or keywords typed in search engines are indicators of whether the user is motivated by promotion or prevention concerns. 

This information can then enable advertisers to write more consistent and effective ads that get more clicks.

Refer to consistent & inconsistent ad texts based on keywords

So What Makes Shoppers Buy A Product They Don’t Need & How Can RFT Help?

Recreational shoppers will buy a product they don’t need when they see a “WIN” or get a feeling thats new and exciting.

These kind of buyers are also put off by taxing, boring details like specifications of product

The reason being when buying these shoppers are usually day dreaming. And your mind can wander only when its not forced to analyse things.

To sum it all:

  1. Guess the intention of your customer : A women seeing high end designer bags is browsing ( let her day dream) and a women who have come to see your co-working space probably needs it.
  1. Want customer to buy something they need?-  Give them all the information with clarity, its actually a good idea to get into specifications and comparison with rival products.
  1. Want customer to buy something they want ( but don’t need) – Encourage them to daydream best done through stories. Don’t give them unnecessary factual details.

If you learned from this article, please leave few words of encouragement in comment.

You can read more on RFT in this book by the man himself, Tory Higgins 

Join fellow marketers who are sharpening their copywriting knife in Brewing Copy FB group 

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