The relationship between psychological reactance and buying

We analyze together the principles of psychological reactance in relation to that of scarcity, that is, how closely marketing is related to psychology and the extent to which a single word, placed in the right place, can make a difference. In the articles already published on the sale we talked about the fact that the customer is looking for something new (although the new adjective should be used with caution, does not always produce positive similarities), unique and useful, but has no desire . be forced to buy. Precisely at this point here, at the exact moment when he feels constrained, the theory of psychological reactance comes into play.

This is also why we no longer talk about “product marketing” but about “product perception” and “brand marketing”.

What do we mean by “reactance”?

The reaction is that defense mechanism, a real psychological resistance intrinsic to man, not wanting to obey orders from others. When we meet someone who insists on everything, and forcibly induces us to make a purchase that does not arise out of our need, we build a wall.

Ultimately, the point is that the customer should feel free to choose without insistence. The job of any good salesperson is to “seduce” the customer. We’ve repeated this concept several times, but specifically what does a salesperson need to seduce a customer?

First of all, a different, innovative idea regarding the reference competition. Then a good example: that is attractive, intriguing and not trivial.

I firmly believe that the goal of a company is always and in any case to encourage customers to buy. One technique that can be used for a good marketing strategy is the principle of scarcity, closely linked to psychological reactance, which is divided into: numerical and temporal.

The principle of scarcity is nothing more than a persuasive technique that convinces the customer because it conveys a sense of urgency in the face of an exhaustion of the product or service in which he is interested. This is one of the most widely used strategies in web marketing.

How to use the principle of shortage in sales?

When the object of desire has limited availability, something clicks into your client’s mind. He realizes he doesn’t have much time. No one likes to find that the desired product is sold out, so taking advantage of the scarcity principle can increase sales.

The purchase, before the click or insertion of the credit card, comes from the thought, so the study of the human psyche often goes hand in hand with the desire to prefer certain marketing strategies to others. Human beings are complex, but certain mechanisms are so simple that they apply to everyone. Let’s start with some practical examples.

The Eminflex in its telesales (which seems prehistoric but in reality can still be seen) constantly offers special offers. The “just for today”, which has been running for thirty years, is repeated over and over in every ad and … it works!

When a call to action on a website suggests you buy a product because “there are few parts”, the company focuses precisely on the shortage of the product which often corresponds to “there is little because it is of quality”.

The first example, that of Eminflex, is based on the scarcity of time which includes phrases such as “only for today” – “until Sunday” – “the next 48 hours”. The second, on the other hand, has to do with the numerical shortage: “there are few pieces left” – “there are the last 10 products” – “the last two at a special price”.

Then there is a third, widely used, which is the principle of exclusive scarcity, or the famous and desired “limited edition”.

Principle of scarcity and theory of psychological reactance

One passage strictly linked to the principle of scarcity is that of the theory of psychological reactance, that is, the impulse to try to obtain what cannot be. In practice, the harder it is to reach a goal, the more eager you are to achieve it. This happens not only in marketing but also in everyday life, if you are forced not to do a certain thing, even if it did not have such an important weight before, you will suddenly want to do it at any cost. If a person does not share your affection, you will feel the need to receive a part of that person there, from no one else.

That is why the principle of scarcity and the theory of psychological reactance travel together.

The fewer opportunities there are, the more value will be given to the occasion. The more there is a “scarcity” understood as a “little opportunity” and not as a “low quality”, the greater the inner need to buy it. For this Airbnb, for example, you can suggest that there are still few deluxe rooms available at a fabulous price and succeed.

How to insert the principle of scarcity in marketing

The principle of scarcity can be used in any product category, the important thing is that your call to action leads to a conversion process. The diversion model (which leads to the irrationality of the customer’s judgment) can be inserted, for example, in the body of the text of a DEM, or an email for commercial purposes, or it can go through a landing page (page destination). ) with a countdown (which also visually, no doubt, creates more urgency than a classic “the offer is valid 24 hours”).

It is also possible to use this marketing strategy in a social post that may take you back to the website and then to the final step in making the final purchase. All of this, in addition to offering you a new, rather easy-to-use marketing strategy, is to tell you that marketing and psychology go hand in hand.
In fact, marketing allows us to understand the reasons for people’s actions and choices.
To put it all in one sentence, we could say that marketing is applied psychology.

How do people react to sensory stimuli? How do they pay attention to words and expressions? Can the color of a call to action affect the customer’s click?

Guéguen’s experiment

For example, Nicolas Guéguen, a professor of social psychology, conducted a series of tests to find out what is most useful in influencing people and motivating them to act.

In the course of his research, he contacted 640 people on the street in France and asked them to make a donation to a children’s hospital through two different forms of communication.
In the first, he asked for the donation as follows: “You are probably interested in supporting organizations for children with health problems. I wonder if you could help us by making a donation, ”was the question answered by 25% of the people to whom it was addressed.
In the second mode, however, it replaced the words “you’re interested” with “you’ll probably reject,” and here the membership rate jumped to 39%.

What am I trying to prove with this example?
That the power of words is an element that you cannot underestimate if you invest in communication.

Often, a customer’s decision to choose you or someone else depends on your ability to know exactly what to say. For this to happen your words must reach directly to the subconscious, they cannot be “deciphered”, they must reach accurate, like a punch.

Have you ever used this marketing strategy?
And as a consumer, on the other hand, have you ever felt the urge to buy “the offer that is still valid for a short time?”. Surely it has happened to you too and in the same way that from now on you will not only notice it more … but you will make good use of it!


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