The Marketing Power of Nudging


Posted by
Barry Siskind
UFI’s Community Manager

One of my favourite radio personalities is Terry O’Reilly. He is a marketing professional who has a weekly show on CBC Radio. Each week O’Reilly examines one aspect of marketing, giving real life examples to his listeners. This week’s broadcast was called the “Power of Whispered.” His premise has great relevance to the exhibition industry in our attempt to induce more attendees to our events.

What O’Reilly spoke about was something he called the “Nudge.” A nudge is a subtle way to “influence decisions and steer consumers toward a positive outcome.”

Nudges are used by schools, charities, marketers and governments and have a great potential for us in events.

One example that O’Reilly gave happened in the UK when the government was attempting to get UK Homeowners to insulate their attics to save energy. The government broadcast the message about energy savings and even offered a financial incentive to offset the cost of insulation. The uptake was minimal. Then the government conducted research to identify the cause of the resistance to change. They learned that UK homeowners viewed their attics as storage space and were reluctant to clear out what they had been saving in order to insulate. So, the UK government came up with an interesting solution. They partnered with a local home improvement company who offered homeowners an attic cleaning service. The number of homeowners who took advantage of this and then insulated their attics soared.

The nudge was the cleaning service. It was a small change that brought remarkable results to a campaign that would have otherwise failed.

Can a nudge be a viable technique for promoting the power of exhibitions? Listen to O’Reilly’s podcast and let me know what you think.

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