There’re two different ways, or two different routes, to persuasion. There’s the systematic, or central, route and there’s the superficial or peripheral processing route.
The central root say that if people are motivated and they’re highly involved, and they have the opportunity and the ability to process marketing messages, then the way to persuade them is through central cues in messages. In other words, cognitive cues, Things that people have to think about. Try to make a strong argument. In order to make a strong argument, people have to be paying attention, they have to be motivated, and they have to have the ability to process this information.
That’s one way.
Many times, and this is true a lot with marketing decisions, people just aren’t motivated to think that much. And they, maybe they just don’t want to think that much. Or maybe they’re, just don’t have the ability, they’re too tired or whatever.
In that case, central processing or central route to persuasion will not work. Then you will have to use the superficial way, which is to use these peripheral cues and so when your opportunity, motivation and ability to elaborate, to cognitively process is low, then the way to persuade people is use, is through these peripheral cues. Which are more automatic reactions, people just make decisions based on these cues. And, it’s not because they thought it out carefully.
When to use what?
So, what we’re saying here is that the consumer is exposed to marketing cues.
Now, the first thing is, you ask the question, is the consumer motivated to elaborate? Are they going to pay attention and think about your message? If the answer is no, they’re not, then that’s low involvement. And then don’t give a message they have to think about, use peripheral cues.
On the other hand, if there’s high involvement, and they are motivated to elaborate, then the next question you have to ask is, do they have the ability to elaborate, though, that’s a message something that they can figure out if they think about. And, if the answer to that is yes, then you’re going to use central route. If the answer is no, you have to go back to the peripheral route. So to get to central routing, the central route where its systematic argument people have to be motivated, and they have to have the ability. If either one of them isn’t true, you gotta go to peripheral cues.
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What are peripheral cues?
Peripheral cues are cues that people use, in a, it’s called heuristic way. That means a shortcut way. They don’t really think through it, they just kind of say, well if this is true then that must be true.
So, for example,
Classical conditioning: It says that you persuade people just by putting things together all the time. So the famous example is Pavlov’s dog. The dog was conditioned to salivate whenever they heard a bell ring and the way it was done is the bell rang before they gave dog food and then every time the dog got dog food they salivated. After a while because of classical conditioning, just the ringing of the bell caused the dog to salivate. So in the same way in marketing, if things are always together, you always have Coke with hamburgers or Coke with McDonald’s. After a while you don’t even think about it, and you just say, well, I’m having a Big Mac, let me have a Coke. That, that’s a kind of notion of classical conditioning, it’s not well thought out. It’s just, I’m persuaded to have a Coke because I always have had one.
Reciprocity: It says that you gave me something, I owe you. Now, that may make sense, it may not, but you’re doing it just because, I owe you. So a lot of times, direct marketers will do things like, put a little gift in a charity appeal. We’ll give you stamps, or sometimes they give you a dollar. And the idea is, sometimes, I gave you sometime, now you give it back to me. It’s not a cognitive argument, it’s a peripheral cue.
Consistency: Another peripheral cue. Why do you like the toothpaste you use? A lot of times the reason that you like the toothpaste you use, is because that’s the one you always use. That’s the one your mother gave you. It’s not like you did this systematic product comparison, and you decided, this is your favorite toothpaste. You use it just because you always liked it. That’s consistency as the peripheral cue.
Social proof: It says well I like this because everybody else likes it. So, New York Times lately has had the most emailed articles, people read them, why do you read them? Well, everybody else emailed them, they must be good. Or my husband chooses restaurants by the one that has the longest lines. If everybody’s waiting on line for this restaurant, that must be good. That’s a social proof, a peripheral cue.
Liking: It says if you like me, then you like my ideas. This is very important, for celebrity spokespeople, if you like the celebrity spokesperson, then you’re going to like what they like. Not necessarily a rational process but it, it makes sense in some, in some ways.
Authority: It says just because I say so, you should do it. That’s another peripheral cue. So, because somebody in authority says you should do something, you should do it. It’s not because you thought it out, because it meets your preferences, just because
someone told you to do it.
Scarcity: The last peripheral cue is this peripheral cue of scarcity. Because there aren’t very many of them, it must be good. So some marketers use this idea of scarcity to create product quality. A modern one that’s been using that is Lululemon. And Lululemon purposely does not have, you know, they go to stock outs easily. If you don’t get there quickly, it’ll run out. The design you might want. And people in, in, infer from that that it’s high value, high quality product. So all of these are scarce, are peripheral cues. So all of these are scarce, are peripheral cues. Not well thought out central processing arguments, but cues that people use to persuade themselves of one thing or another