Please accept all cookies to ensure proper website functionality. Set my cookie preferences

Can the average consumer tell the difference between two identical products when they have dissimilar labels? Do restaurant enthusiasts order more food when the descriptive menu language is more detailed? Are consumers suckers for marketing trickery?

As marketers, our job is to influence market behaviors. Our success depends on our ability to sell products and/or services or socially change attitudes. We've done such a good job at it, that many consumers are duped into thinking certain ways.
Last week on the Today Show, Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of "Mindless Eating – Why We Eat More Than We Think," displayed two identical bottles of wine - one with a label indicating it came from North Dakota, and the other from California. (In case you live outside the U.S., North Dakota isn't known for its wine, but California is.) In taste tests, he said, consumers drank more of the California wine and said they liked it better.
Dr. Wansink then showed two identical plates of restaurant food with two different menu descriptions. Tests showed that people bought more, and enjoyed the taste better, of the plate associated with a more descriptive menu (Menu B).
Menu A
Red beans with rice
Seafood fillet
Grilled chicken
Chocolate pudding
Menu B
Traditional Cajun beans with rice
Succulent Italian seafood fillet
Tender grilled chicken
Satin chocolate pudding
Although this research was conducted to change America's eating habits, it's also indicative of what good marketing can do to influence consumer habits overall.
A couple of months ago, I remember a similar TV taste test demonstration with assorted vodka brands. Consumers who indicated that they could tell the difference between their preferred vodka (the more expensive, well-known brand) and lower-end, less expensive brands, failed miserably when taste testing Cosmopolitans using a variety of vodka brands.
Now this isn't rocket science to marketers. We're familiar with the power of marketing and good copywriting. But what does it say about the consumer market? Are many of us tricked into thinking one product is better than another, or one service supplier superior in quality based solely on descriptive words and engaging images?
Whether we believe in what we market or not, is marketing simply a form of trickery and behavior manipulatation?
What do YOU think?

Continue reading "The Power of Marketing: Is It Outright Trickery?" ... Read the full article

Subscribe's free!

MarketingProfs provides thousands of marketing resources, entirely free!

Simply subscribe to our newsletter and get instant access to how-to articles, guides, webinars and more for nada, nothing, zip, zilch, on the house...delivered right to your inbox! MarketingProfs is the largest marketing community in the world, and we are here to help you be a better marketer.

Already a member? Sign in now.

Sign in with your preferred account, below.


image of Elaine Fogel

Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

LinkedIn: Elaine Fogel

Twitter: @Elaine_Fogel

Content Resources

You may like these other MarketingProfs resources related to Content.

Convert Prospects With the Power of Case Studies

A case study can be an effective storytelling tool to use in B2B content marketing. Learn why, as well as how to craft one, in this article.

How to Add Audio Content to Your Marketing Strategy

Audio of all types, from podcasts to voice search, is a powerful form of content marketing. If you're not doing it yet, here's how to get started.

Five Ways to Improve Content Quality Signals on Landing Pages

Quality is a nebulous concept that can be difficult to define. Not for Google: high-quality content for better search rank depends on specific factors that can be optimized. Here's how to do so for five of them.

Eight Lessons Learned From Giving 100+ Webinars

Webinars are more prevalent than ever, and that won't change any time soon. To reduce hiccups and improve the experience for attendees, follow these eight tips.

The World Is Looking for Thought Leaders. Could You Be One of Them?

Standing for something is good for business these days. But how do you go beyond merely sharing company values to crafting real thought leadership? Start with a POV blog post.

Why It Should No Longer Take 13 Pieces of Content to Convert a Buyer

We've all heard that prospects consume at least 13 pieces of content before making a decision. But does that have to be true anymore? This article discusses why that should change.