Ruler

The power of Pre-Suasion

Behavioural economists have for some time known that how an offer is framed can give widely different response rates amongst test groups. But Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky took this further as described in Daniel’s book Thinking Fast and Slow

‘Amos and I once rigged a wheel of fortune. It was marked from 0 to 100, but we had it built so that it would stop only at 10 or 65 One of us would stand in front of a small group, spin the wheel, and ask them to write down the number on which the wheel stopped, which of course was either 10 or 65. We then asked them two questions:

Is the percentage of African nations among UN members larger or smaller than the number you just wrote?

What is your best guess of the percentage of African nations in the UN?

The spin of a wheel of fortune had nothing to do with the question and should have had no influence over the answer, but it did. “The average estimate of those who saw 10 and 65 were 25% and 45 respectively.”

Context for decision making matters and this is explored at length by social psychologist Robert Cialdini in his book Pre-Suasion (his earlier book Persuasion is a top recommendation of Charlie Munger, who together with Warren Buffett are the arguably most successful investors ever). In Pre-suasion Cialdini argues that altering a listener’s attitudes, beliefs, or experiences isn’t necessary, but simply for a communicator to redirect the audience’s focus of attention before a relevant action.

This is of course relevant and important for online marketing, and particularly for engaging prospective clients. The information presented to them immediately before a call to action (e.g. ‘request more information’) can substantially effect response rates. This is why we run experiments using A/B testing to see which works best, and monitor data to see if performance alters over time.

As we are able to aggregate anonymised data from wherever our widgets are deployed we can gather more information much more quickly, to constantly optimise the widgets performance. This scale network effect is only possible for specialist legal marketing software providers, of which LawPanel is currently the only one!