No News Is The Worst News
How Retailers Use Marketing Tricks to Manipulate What You Buy - "I discovered the 32GB iPad is the most popular model. Marketers at Apple knew this would be the case long before the iPad ever hit the market. This isn't because the 32GB meets the average consumer's needs the best. It's because Apple knows when consumers are presented with three options and have to make a relatively uninformed choice, caution steers them to the middle."
From coffee cup sizes to real estate prices, every aspect of the selling experience has been analyzed, refined and targeted toward a specific goal: to get your money. This article from Alaska's Fairbanks Daily News-Miner takes a look at the psychology behind the marketing decisions of such companies as Apples, Starbucks and the mom-and-pop store down the road. It may be old news to many of you, but it's helpful to get a refresher in price presentation. Although the article makes specific mention of retail, the principles readily translate to promotional products and just about any other sales-based industry.
The Secret Language Code - "Remarkably, how people used pronouns was correlated with almost everything I studied. For example, use of first-person singular pronouns (I, me, my) was consistently related to gender, age, social class, honesty, status, personality, and much more. Although the findings were often robust, people in daily life were unable to pick them up when reading or listening to others. It was almost as if there was a secret world of pronouns that existed outside our awareness."
This is venturing into some deep linguistic nerd territory, but for anyone interested in the psychology of language and how to use it toward persuasive ends, it's fascinating. Scientific American interviews James Pennebaker, chair of the department of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, about his research into language use and human psychology. Using computer models, Pennebaker analyzed texts from numerous eras, locations and languages, and found that the use of pronouns like "I," "he" and "who" had a number of social correlations and implications. What really jumped out to me was this quote: "Basically, we discovered that in any interaction, the person with the higher status uses I-words less (yes, less) than people who are low in status." Interesting stuff, and potentially useful to know on your next sales call.