Scarcity:The Rule of the Few Cialdini’s Chapter 7
Scarcity Principle A weapon of InfluenceOpportunities seem more valuable when theyare less available.Potential loss is more powerful than potentialgain in influencing human decision-making.Limited numbers- An item will be more desirablewhen it is least available. Availability can serveas a shortcut cue to an item’s quality.Limited time- typical “deadline” tactic to pressureconsumers into buying an item
Psychological ReactanceScarcity principle trades on our weaknessfor shortcuts.Shortcut: item’s availability = qualityLower availability= loose of freedom orlimited free choice.Psychological reactance: Limited free choice = increased desire and efforts to possess the object.
Psychological ReactanceMore evident at ages characterized by emergingsense of individuality: Terrible twos Teenage yearsCensorship of information: makes it moredesirable and believable, even when informationnot received.Scarcity of information: makes it more valuable,credible, exclusive and therefore morepersuasive.
Psychological reactance influenced by: Censorship Emergence sense of individuality “Terrible Twos”
Effectiveness of Scarcity Principle as a Weapon of InfluenceMore effective when: New scarcity is more effective than long- standing scarcity. E.g., Revolutions tend to occur when a period of increased well-being is followed by a tight cluster time of reversal. Competition for scarce items or resources makes them more desirable. E.g., items purchased at an auction
Defense Mechanism against theemotion-arousing pressures of scarcityQuestion yourself:What is it that we want from the desired item? If you want to “possess” the item for its social, economic or psychological benefits, you may be successful if you can afford it. BUT If you want it to “experience” the item as to eat it, use it, wear it, etc.. Then we need to remember that scarce items will not be any better than non scarce items on these regards just because they have limited availability.
ReferenceCialdini, R.B. (2009). Influence: Science and Practice (5th ed.) Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., 198-226.