Today, you will learn some psychology. You will understand what the bandwagon effect is and how to apply it in your marketing campaigns. After reading the article, you will be able to design campaigns and strategies that will help you to get new customers and sell new products.
What is the bandwagon effect?
You will probably have already heard some terms such as groupthink, herd mentality, crowd psychology, or the snowball effect. All of them mean the same.
The phrase “jump on the bandwagon” first appeared in American politics in 1848 during the presidential campaign of Zachary Taylor. Dan Rice, a famous and popular circus clown of the time, invited Taylor to join his circus bandwagon.
As Taylor gained more recognition and his campaign became more successful, people began saying that Taylor’s political opponents ought to “jump on the bandwagon” themselves if they want to be associated with such success.
To put it in a nutshell, the Bandwagon Effect is the tendency for the brain to conclude that something must be desirable because other people desire it.
Check the following video and let me know your thoughts about what you see:
How can the bandwagon effect help marketers?
The bandwagon effect or the power of the crowd is a very effective way to gain new clients. Now, you will understand when and how you should use social proof.
1. Efficient decision-making: When in doubt, follow the crowd
Imagine that you are visiting a new city but fortunately, you have some local friends. It is lunchtime, but you don’t know where to eat. What should you do? You call your friends and ask them for references.
Now you know where to eat. You arrive at the restaurant but you don’t know what to order because it is your first time and you don’t have any references. Then, you can call your friends again, you can ask the waiter or check the comments of previous clients on social media, Google, Tripadvisor…
You can use the power of the crowd to sell specific products. McDonald’s tried it successfully. The staff used to ask: “Would you like something else with that?” to upsell the order. But it didn’t work very well, because people didn’t have any idea. One day, they decided to add the following sentence to the original question: “Would you like something else with that? The McFlurry is our visitors’ favorite here”
What happened? McDonald’s saw the sales of their McFlurries rise by 55%! Why? Because of the perceived social proof and tendency that people will go with what’s popular.
Here are some examples of how to apply efficient decision making:
Use a Key Opinion Leader to endorse your product
Oprah Winfrey has charisma and the ability to attract viewers and listeners and influence their opinions. I am sure that in your industry there should be some opinion leaders willing to cooperate with you.
Feature your customer logos
Use your client’s logos to build social proof and trust.
Incorporate customer reviews
Did you know that 92% of online consumers read online reviews and 54% of people will visit a website after reading positive reviews? Displaying reviews can boost conversions by up to 270 percent.
2. Fear of Missing Out: Buy Now or You will miss it!
Do you remember what item was almost impossible to buy during the COVID-19 outbreak? The toilet paper, right? The power of the crowd can create a sense of urgency. People are more likely to purchase a product if they believe that only a select few will be able to purchase it.
Marketers can play on the fear of missing out by giving the impression that something is in limited supply. Scarcity makes people perceive limited quantities as more precious and valuable. This is why they show product’s limited quantities available to purchase.
Tip: Combine social proof with limited quantity to boost your offer’s effectiveness.
Booking knows how effective the fear of missing out is. When you are checking a room in a hotel on Booking, you will get notifications about people who are also considering the same room at the same time. The fear of missing out, the perceived limited quantity, and the social proof creates a sense of urgency that overcomes sales objections and drives sales.
It is more effective to tell people what they will miss out on if they don’t buy the product than telling what they will get after purchasing it.
3. A sense of belonging: The Desire for Community
The bandwagon effect offers an easy way to be part of the crowd. Most of us dislike being excluded from groups. To avoid being the odd one out, many of us conform to the ideas of a group.
Do you remember the successful launch of Clubhouse? They used the bandwagon effect.
Clubhouse hired influencers, experts, and trusted sources to promote its platform. They used the scarcity effect. People could only join Clubhouse if someone invited them. Did you know that there was a black market online where people were selling Clubhouse invitations for as much as $1000 per invite?
Clubhouse also created a sense of belonging. They connected like-minded people in a digital space and provided an environment where people feel safe to speak up and share their identity and experiences.
LEGO is another brand that built a community through co-creation. They invite their clients to build new products. Clients get involved in the process and they are more interested in seeing the offer succeed and in purchasing that offer in the future.
Tip. Ask your clients for advice and avoid asking them for opinions. Advice implies a constructive viewpoint but opinion is always a critical viewpoint.
4. Winning perceptions: Go with the winner
People want to be on the winning side. If lots of people are doing something, we tend to believe that this is the right thing to do. Companies must prove that other people are already buying the product, it will make your product more valuable and attractive.
Show the number of people who have already trusted you:
Other companies show their Instagram account on their website featuring happy customers wearing their products and showing the number of likes of each Instagram picture.
How can companies without social proof use the power of the bandwagon effect?
New companies don’t have social proof but they can use non-sales-related data to illustrate a trend in a direction.
For example, you are selling cookies made of olive oil, but you don’t have many customers yet. You can mention that year over year there are more people concerned about the effects of palm oil on health (Most of the cookies are made of palm oil). You will show some statistics to prove it. At the same time, you will use some statistics to prove that there is a trend showing the acceptance of olive oil in cooking. Although you don’t have any clients yet, at least you have some figures that support your product.
People will follow the majority!
Well, I hope you like this article. Do you have other ideas? Please share them with us!
P.S. Before you go, you may also be interested in the following articles:
POST WRITTEN BY
Jose Maria (Chema) Lopez
A Madrid Polytechnic University International MBA has worked as global marketing director in B2B and B2C international leading companies implementing global marketing and communication strategies to ensure business objectives and to optimize brands reputation and visibility on a global level.
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