Carrot v Stick

In today’s post was an envelope from my local health club, with a picture of a carrot on it (and a snowman missing his nose).

Inside, was a letter with a picture of an even bigger carrot on it, and the offer of a free month’s membership if I recommend a friend.

It didn’t make me want to recommend anyone, but I did go to the fridge and eat a raw carrot (well, it is nearly lunchtime!)

I was reminded recently that the ‘carrot approach’ works better than the ‘stick approach’*.

Surveys have apparently shown that signs with smiley or sad faces by the roadside are more effective at slowing the speed of traffic than speed cameras. When I’m driving past them, they certainly leave me in a better mood!

You could argue that this is a management tip more than a marketing tip. But it is an example of how to incentivise behaviour change. And when you’re marketing, you want people to pick up the phone, visit your website or place an order. Therefore, you have to give them a reason to act.

*You know where that comes from, don’t you? If you want a donkey to move forwards it’s better to tempt it with a carrot rather than to beat it with a stick. I’m just not sure it’s right to treat our prospects as donkeys!

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