Dan Ariely does an excellent job explaining how to upsell consumers using the theory of relativity in his book Predictably Irrational (a NY Times Bestseller). In the first chapter of the book, Dan explains a few theories that have direct implications for sports marketers. The book begins with an example of how The Economist magazine used relativity to upsell consumers to purchase both a Print and Web subscription (realizing that most consumers would choose only the web option because the ad was being read online):
The Economist offered a Subscription Advertisement online with the following terms:
- Economist.com subscription - US $59.00
- One-year subscription to Economist.com Includes online access to all articles from The Economist since 1997
- Print subscription - US $125.00
- One-year subscription to the print edition of The Economist
- Print & Web subscription - US $125
- One-year subscription to the print edition of The Economist and online access to all articles from The Economist since 1997
Marketers at The Economist created this ad using the rationale that consumers may not know whether the Internet-only subscription at $59 is a better deal than the print-only subscription at $125 but they DO know that the $125 print & web subscription is a better deal than the $125 print-only option. The result? Consmers are more willing to purchase the print & web subscription than the other options. Simply by offering consumers an inferior/superior offering at the same price, the magazine was able to influence consumers to choose the product they wanted to sell.
Dan goes on to explain that most consumers would choose Option 3 (Print & Web subscription) because humans rarely choose things in absolute terms (Option 1). Humans don't have an internal value meter that tells us how much things are worth and instead focus on the relative advantage of one option over another and estimate value accordingly.
The same thinking applies to how retailers sell televisions (if consumers are given three options, they will almost always choose the middle-priced tv) and realtors sell properties. If you are looking to sell an item, give consumers three options and they will most likely choose Option B below:
- Option A (a different item than Option B)
- Option B- (identical item/price as Option B but is inferior in some manner)
- Option B
How does all of this apply to sports marketers?
- Use the first example as a way to upsell consumers with magazine/web subscriptions. Drive new revenue streams by upselling consumers who are currently paying for web subscriptions (Insider access) by including an enticing web & print subscription offer (as detailed above)
- Use the second example to sell consumers on 5-game / 10-game ticket packages. If a consumer is potentially interested in purchasing a limited game ticket package, offer "said" consumer three options:
- Option A - 5-game ticket package ($65)
- Option B- 10-game ticket package ($130)
- Option B - 10-game ticket package with four (4) food vouchers ($130)
Based on the theories of relativity, consumers will be more likely to choose Option B (the package you want them to choose over lesser-value Option A). Make sense? If yes/no, pick up the book Predictably Irrational to learn more... The book details some great insights into how we as sports marketers can predict irrational consumer behavior!