Marketing Obligations

Marketing Obligations

The more indebted we feel,​ the​ more motivated we are to​ eliminate the​ debt. Pre-giving makes us feel like we have to​ return the​ favor. Greenburg said this feeling of​ discomfort is​ created because the​ favor threatens our independence. an​ interesting report from the​ Disabled American Veterans Organization revealed that their usual 18 percent donation response rate nearly doubled when the​ mailing included a​ small,​ free gift.

The Law of​ Obligation also presents itself in​ the​ following situations:

* Taking a​ potential client out to​ dinner or​ to​ play golf
* Offering free tire rotation or​ fluid fill-up between services
* Someone washing your car windows at​ a​ stoplight whether you​ want them to​ or​ not
* Generating money at​ "free" car washes by asking for a​ donation after the​ service is​ rendered
* a​ carpet cleaner offering to​ clean your couch for free

A film-developing company thrived on​ the​ Law of​ Obligation. They would send a​ roll of​ film in​ the​ mail along with a​ letter explaining that the​ film was a​ free gift. the​ letter then outlined how the​ recipient should return the​ film to​ their company to​ be processed. Even though a​ number of​ local stores could process the​ film at​ a​ far lower price,​ most people ended up sending it​ to​ the​ company that had sent them the​ film. the​ technique worked because the​ company's "pre-giving" incurred a​ sense of​ obligation to​ repay the​ favor. We often see this method at​ work when companies give out complimentary calendars,​ business pens,​ T-shirts,​ or​ mugs.

In a​ local clothing store,​ the​ sales staff are trained to​ ask customers whether they want to​ have their suit jackets pressed at​ no charge while they are shopping. of​ course,​ hardly anyone ever refuses. While they wait on​ their jackets,​ they naturally have to​ spend more time in​ the​ store,​ whereby they occupy themselves by checking out all the​ merchandise. Because the​ store is​ pressing their jackets,​ the​ customers feel more indebted to​ buy. Moreover,​ when they do decide to​ buy something,​ they are more likely to​ buy it​ from the​ salesperson who pressed their jacket.

The same principle applies when you​ go to​ the​ grocery store and see those alluring sample tables. it​ is​ hard to​ take a​ free sample and then walk away without at​ least pretending to​ be interested in​ the​ product. Some individuals,​ as​ a​ means of​ assuaging their indebtedness,​ have learned to​ take the​ sample and walk off without making eye contact. Some have taken so many samples,​ they no longer feel an​ obligation to​ buy or​ even pretend they're interested in​ the​ products anymore. Still,​ the​ technique works,​ so much so that it​ has been expanded to​ furniture and audio/video stores,​ which offer free pizza,​ hot dogs,​ and soft drinks to​ get you​ into the​ store and create instant obligation.

In the​ early 1980s,​ the​ Hare Krishna movement encountered difficulty in​ raising funds through their traditional means. the​ rebellion of​ the​ 1960s had given way to​ the​ more conservative 1980s,​ and the​ Hare Krishna members were now considered almost an​ affliction to​ society. to​ counteract negative public opinion,​ they developed a​ new approach that utilized the​ Law of​ Obligation. Their new fundraising strategy worked because it​ prompted a​ sense of​ obligation that outweighed the​ dislike or​ negativity felt toward the​ Hare Krishna movement.

The new strategy still involved solicitation in​ crowded,​ public places,​ but now,​ instead of​ just directly asking for a​ donation,​ the​ potential donor was first given a​ free gift--a flower. if​ someone tried to​ turn it​ down,​ the​ Krishna follower would,​ under no circumstances,​ take it​ back. the​ Krishna gift-giver might say,​ "Sir,​ this is​ a​ free gift for you​ to​ keep,​ and we welcome donations." Often the​ gifts just ended up in​ the​ trash cans,​ but overall,​ the​ strategy worked. in​ most cases,​ even individuals who ended up throwing the​ gifts away donated something. Although lots of​ people were extremely annoyed by the​ high-pressure gift giving,​ their sense of​ obligation to​ reciprocate was too strong to​ ignore.

Another study found that survey takers could increase physician response to​ a​ long questionnaire if​ they paid the​ physicians first. When a​ $20 check was sent along with the​ questionnaire,​ 78 percent of​ the​ physicians filled it​ out and sent it​ back. When the​ $20 check was promised to​ arrive after the​ questionnaire was completed and sent in,​ only 66 percent followed through. the​ pre-giving incentive increased the​ sense of​ obligation. Another interesting result of​ the​ study was this: of​ the​ physicians who received the​ $20 check in​ the​ initial mailing but did not fill out the​ questionnaire,​ only 26 percent cashed the​ check. of​ the​ physicians receiving the​ $20 check who did fill out the​ questionnaire,​ 95 percent cashed the​ check! This demonstrates that the​ Law of​ Obligation works conversely,​ as​ well. the​ fact that many of​ the​ physicians who did not fill out the​ questionnaire also did not cash their checks may be interpreted as​ a​ sign of​ their psychological and emotional discomfort at​ accepting a​ favor that they were not going to​ return.

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