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Unbiased stories & studies from the frontiers of marketing

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NeuroTactic Overview

Autonomy Bias

In a 2011 study involving an exercise program, study participants who had the ability to choose their exercise regimen reported a higher satisfaction level than those who were randomly assigned a regimen. This pattern echoes throughout many studies in which people are generally happier and more satisfied when they have control over their surroundings. No matter what is being decided, the mere existence of a choice increases a person’s satisfaction. The existence of a choice means a person has autonomy, and the existence of autonomy gives a person confidence that they are in control.

SUMMARY:

In a 2011 study involving an exercise program, study participants who had the ability to choose their exercise regimen reported a higher satisfaction level than those who were randomly assigned a regimen.

This pattern echoes throughout many studies in which people are generally happier and more satisfied when they have control over their surroundings. No matter what is being decided, the mere existence of a choice increases a person’s satisfaction. The existence of a choice means a person has autonomy, and the existence of autonomy gives a person confidence that they are in control.

Research shows that people use their autonomy more when making discretionary purchases versus practical purchases. For example, consumers will exercise their rights to customize a new car more readily than they will spend time on what types of pens are stocked in their office.

With this in mind, consider how you can add more levels of control to your customer journey. As you hand more autonomy to your audience, they will have a higher level of commitment to seeing the process through. Their excitement around purchasing may be higher, and they’ll be more motivated to follow through with a purchase.

Primary Source:

Botti & McGill (2011). The locus of choice: Personal causality and satisfaction with hedonic and utilitarian decisions. Journal of Consumer Research

Dream Category:

Emotion

The DREAM framework, created by Vivid Labs, represents a research-backed framework for effective marketing messages. It stands for Desire, Routing, Emotion, Attention, and Memorability.

AIDA Category:

Interest
AIDA is a well-known framework for assembling a marketing message. It stands for the four steps of human decision-making: Attention, Interest, Decision, and Action.

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