Wine Appreciation Redux

Aha!  Once again it has been experimentally proven that the majority of people actually prefer  less expensive wine to pricier vino, when they don’t know the price.  BUT, when they do  know the price, they prefer the more expensive plonk, and not only consciously, but physiologically, too.  The study about negative correlation between price and preference is here, and the one that shows we are physically  affected by knowing the price of something is here.

There are three important lessons here:

1. I am a genius, because I wrote about this months ago.

2. People value your product or service based at least partially on how much it costs.  Otherwise, the maxim “you get what you pay for,” would have never been born.  Interestingly, though, this is only true in the “real” world: less expensive things are viewed as lower quality, and “free” things with outright distrust.  On the internet, though, where “things” are actually just bits and bytes, “free” is becoming the expectation.  But that’s a whole other discussion.

3. Marketing affects people physically.  Isn’t that a little freaky?  That what you communicate to people can actually change the way their brain functions? 

Scott Adams writes frequently at his blog about how we are all “moist robots,” preprogrammed to react in a certain way to any given situation, and that no-one really has “free will.”  This would tend to support his argument – the fact that if you are convinced something is better, you will enjoy it more, whether it really is better or not.

Of course, the key word there is “convinced.”  If I simply tell you, “You will prefer this wine,” then the brain effect probably wouldn’t happen, because you may doubt my motives or expertise.  But an unbiased  indicator, like the free-market value of a particular wine, will sway your neurons.

So what does that mean for marketing?  That telling people things is nowhere near as effective as letting them find about by themselves.  That’s a hard concept for someone raised to think of “marketing” and “advertising” as meaning the same thing, but it’s the new reality.

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