Nudge is bad, value is good

nudge fly

It is an amazing achievement to theoretically formalize human behavior. It offers us a less biased insight into our society and a chance to improve ourselves. This is what Richard Thaler succeeded with Nudge theory. However, using nudging practically in sales and marketing is not competitive.

Nudges require customers to be in cognitively diminished situations which do not allow them to accept real values. For this reason nudging is used in sales and marketing by companies which have lost the management capacity to create and deliver value, usually as a desperate resort to boost short term sales. It is a sales trick and not a business strategy, which requires deliberately exploiting customer’s diminished cognitive ability.

There is never a situation in which a customer does not have the cognitive ability to decide unless the company deliberately designed that situation. Some companies design situations which limit decision alternatives, information, or time in order to elicit a purchase decision. These companies lost the management ability to innovate in products and content, and their management is forced to find growth alternatives, usually short term.

Thaler’s nudge definition did us a great favor to expose these strategies and why they should be avoided. Real value is the complete opposite of nudging and is never delivered with a nudge. It is delivered with innovative products and content which do not require customers to be in cognitively diminished situations, but adjusts to customer fully.

Companies that nudge will not grow in the long term. Companies that offer real value will grow in the long term.

It is far better to motivate and educate men how to use a urinal than to nudge them with a fly sticker. Or write a better requirement document for urinal design.

Written by: Nikola Tosic
Publishing date: 16 Oct 2019