If you’ve ever played the lottery or put a dollar in a slot machine, then you have some idea of how the “motivating uncertainty effect” works. It’s the same psychological effect that drives popular game shows like Wheel of Fortune and Let’s Make a Deal. That sense of excitement, mystery… The huge shot of dopamine when we win.
Dopamine is a chemical release in the brain that signals pleasure, and people are willing to take big chances in order to feel that pleasure. You can capitalize on that in your CPG marketing strategies.
The Research Behind the Technique
Even if you’re familiar with that rush of dopamine, you may still want a bit more information about how the motivating uncertainty effect could boost your marketing efforts. Fortunately, some research has already been done for you.
This study by Coglode shows that a group of people were willing to bid more for a cup that might contain three chocolates or five chocolates than they were willing to bid for a cup that certainly contained five. Why would anyone bid more for a bag that might contain less? Uncertainty! The feeling of elation when our effort pays off.
So, how can you apply this to your marketing efforts?
The Wheel of Fortune tactic has made increased appearances on brand websites lately, giving visitors the chance to win discounts, free delivery, and various other prizes. This is a great way to welcome people to your site, as it provides that shot of dopamine right away, a buzzing pleasure that sticks with them as they continue to shop around.
As an added bonus, you get to collect valuable contact information so that you can continue to contact prospects with other offers via email.
The motivating uncertainty effect is the gift that keeps giving, especially if you can reach out through your email marketing to potential buyers. The Wheel of Fortune model is still a good choice, or you can use a “click to reveal” or scratch-card type contest.
The main goal is to drive buyers right back to your website so that they’ll complete a purchase, or give them an incentive to complete a purchase in your store or with another retailer.
As a CPG brand, you know that most of your sales take place in a retail location, whether purchased in person or through an online shopping portal. How can you provide last-minute opportunities to buyers who are perusing the shelves so that they can get that rush of excitement?
In-app promotions are a great way to grab those buyers just before the checkout. This scratch-card ad through the Stamp Me app presents products and brands the buyer has shown interest in and gives them a chance for big discounts (and that exciting rush of dopamine). The big bonus is that they can be redeemed right away, which keeps that rush of pleasure going strong.
There are dozens of ways you can reach your buyers with exciting motivating uncertainty techniques and start giving them that rush of excitement. They’ll come back again and again for the chance to “win” more.