How to use nudge theory with your marketing campaigns

Psychology can be a marketer’s best friend. Knowing people – especially the kind of people you’re targeting with event marketing campaigns – can make the difference between a sale and a cold lead. The study of the human mind has a great strategy to offer, which can get you selling more than you thought you could. What is that strategy? It’s nudge theory.

What is the nudge theory?

Thaler and Sunstein, the two professors who researched this phenomenon, describe it like this:

“A nudge, as we will use the term, is any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behaviour in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid.”

Basically, nudge theory is getting people to do what you need them to do with a bit of subtle persuasion. Although there has been controversy which suggests the actual application of this finding is equivalent to manipulation, it’s not quite as severe as people make it out to be. Not, at least, if you don’t use it for the wrong reasons.

Nudge theory in marketing practice

There are a number of ways in which nudge theory can be used to get the results you want and help out your business. The key thing is not to use nudging when the benefit to you is glaringly obvious –this can come across as underhand, which isn’t something you want to be associated with your company.

One of the main places to put the theory into practice is in remarketing campaigns. When a contact has booked onto an event or set up a meeting, for example, send over an email every few weeks just to make sure that they are still able to attend.

Emails like this can come in the form of an update about the event or a little bit more information, rather than simply “Are you ready? Are you ready? Are you still coming?” which might put people off. Whilst you don’t want attendees to feel that they shouldn’t attend, you do want to weed out any unwilling or uninterested individuals. Involve a cancellation CTA for anyone not able to attend, and treat it as you would an unsubscribe button.

Additionally, nudging can help to get contacts to update their information and opt-in to more communications from you. Allow leads access to a preference centre, then send emails whenever they show a lack of engagement that says something like “Are these emails still relevant to you?”. To some extent, this could even get your clients to re-engage with your content themselves – doing that tricky job for you.

Overall, nudge theory is a pretty great way to get data, campaigns, and events all running that little bit smoother. Although it won’t rake you in a tonne of money, it can help you to get more people at your events, and get your marketing strategy working more effectively with the co-operation of your contacts.

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