In an effort to get kids to eat healthy the research team tried two different approaches.
The first approach was to thoroughly teach the kids why eating healthy was good for them. The research team explained all the positive changes in their body that would make them strong. They even came up with a great slogan "Eat Strong". This teaching went on every day for an entire week.
At the end of the week there was zero change. Eighty percent of the kids still chose to eat the unhealthy choices.
The second approach with a new set of kids was to give them a few brief advantages of eating healthy and offer a small reward if they made the healthy choices. The reward was a plastic trophy that said "Eat Strong".
At the end of the week 80% of the kids made healthy choices. They continued this for a few weeks and the kids continued to make healthy choices and collect their rewards.
When they stopped offering the reward the results went back to 80% making unhealthy choices.
The researchers then went into grocery stores.
The first approach was to educate customers on the importance of eating heathy. At the end of the test period there was zero change in what the shoppers bought. Eighty percent continued to make the unhealthy food buying choices.
The second approach was to give the shoppers a small reward when they checked out for buying healthy foods. At the end of the test period, the results were the same as with the kids. Eighty percent made healthy choices so they could get the reward.
How does this apply to you?
Let's say you have a restaurant. You already have great food, great prices and outstanding service. Based on this research, more customers will come in if you offer them a reward for eating in your restaurant. For example a coupon that can be applied on their next visit, or a free desert.
How about a retail store? Customers already expect a guarantee, a fair price and good service. Put a prize in their bag instead of just a receipt and watch them come back!
This circles back to the acronym "W-I-I-F-M". Customers want to know: "What's In It For Me?" Give them a good answer and they will buy.