Weekly Column: 2017-06-09

On the street, there are two restaurants that have the same menu. People wait in line every day to eat at one of the restaurants while the other only occasionally seats one or two tables.  It is clear to anyone that the restaurant is not doing well. It may be that the crowded restaurant makes tastier food, but many people would say something along the lines of the following:

“There must be a reason no one goes there.”

There is something called the “Bandwagon Effect.” It can be described as a consumption phenomenon that follows popularity trends and utilizes crowd psychology to drives impulse buying.

Most people are quite sensitive to trends. Sometimes people purchase products because that is what they desire, but most of the time people buy the products that are trending. It is the same concept when a certain clothing item sells out quickly because a famous person wore it or when people believe they must go to a certain restaurant to eat because the majority of people go there. It is not that the clothes that a famous person wears are particularly good quality or the food of the restaurant that many people visit is particularly delicious. Most people do not discuss the pros and cons or the pricing when making their purchasing decisions, but they might decide based on the trustworthiness of a famous person or the number of people at a restaurant.

It is the same for purchasing products. Salesmen push their sales and garner attention by saying that there is not much time left to purchase their product, especially at the price they are offering at that time and you will never see prices this low again. At first, people may only gather around, but once a few people get swept away by the enthusiasm of the salesman and purchase the product, others will follow suit and will purchase the product.  They feel an impulse to buy the product based on the fact that someone else bought it.  Ultimately, when one person buys something, the desire to buy the same thing is awakened in others.  Whether or not the person intended to buy the product, the person who first bought the product becomes the influencer of impulse buying. In the end, it can be concluded that it is a phenomenon where people follow the trends to purchase products and it shows that sometimes crowd psychology holds great power.

Strategies such as this have recently started being used in marketing. One example is when a company posts fake reviews on their website to increase followers on Facebook or Instagram as if many people were already visiting and purchasing their products. When people see good reviews and followers on a website they will start believing it is a popular product that is doing well and that increases the chances they will purchase the product. For that reason, many businesses focus on getting likes on Facebook and work hard in order to get more followers.

Although that is not an ethical method, marketing is ultimately informing consumers of the value of a product and stimulating their desire for the product in order to make sales. Therefore, if you utilize this marketing strategy well in order to fulfill consumer needs and maximize sales, there will be very positive results.

In the long run, what is shown is a marketing strategy. Setting aside whether the feedback and the number of likes on social media are accurate, the most important thing is for your product to be introduced first and receive more attention in comparison to your competitors. No matter how great your product is, if consumers cannot find it, you will not be able to make sales. If you are able to raise consumer interest, create a trend, and make plenty of sales through crowd psychology, then using this method will be seen as successful marketing.

It is an obvious fact that even if something is beautifully packaged, what’s inside is the important thing. However, rather than falling behind the competition by insisting on being completely truthful and losing the opportunity to introduce a good product or service to consumers, wouldn’t it be better to use a good strategy in order to raise consumer awareness and become the best in that field? After all, “God helps those who help themselves.”