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Mentioning money affects your customers’ buying habits

An interesting study by Mogilner + Aaker (2009)1 looks at how mentioning money affects our spending habits.

One experiment they conducted used a traditional American lemonade stand, with three different advertising signs: The first mentioned time – “Spend a little time, and enjoy C&D’s lemonade.” The second mentioned money – “Spend a little money, and enjoy C&D’s lemonade.” The final (control) sign simply said “Enjoy C&D’s lemonade”.

The results found that twice as many people stopped at the stall when the sign mentioned time (14%) compared to money (7%). The experiment also asked the customers to pay what they wanted for the lemonade. When time was mentioned, customers paid on average $1.12 more than when money was mentioned.

The results for the control sign that didn’t mention time or money came exactly between both. So, mentioning time brought more customers and more money than not mentioning it. Mentioning money brought less customers and less money than not mentioning it.

The research found that when you bring time into a message, customers make more of a personal connection with it. Mentioning money does the exact opposite.

It’s really important that your customers make a personal connection with your business, whether through branding and a visual identity, advertising or promotion. It’s surprising the difference that one word makes!

This is just one way that understanding human behaviour allows us to create much more effective and valuable design for our clients.