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    on August 05, 2022 Consumer Psychology

    4 benefits of leveraging competition within your B2C marketing

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    Late last year, we found ourselves wanting to learn more about the psychology of competition and how it gained its roots in consumer marketing. Our curiosity led us to Joseph Michelli, a Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist and New York Times #1 bestselling author, who gave us the origin story on consumer competition. He also shed light on a few benefits.

    In this blog, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to flush those benefits out a bit more. You’ll find a list that includes four perks of incorporating competition into marketing below. 

    1. Cultivates emotional investment 

    Context: The key [benefit] is that you get people emotionally invested. It’s one thing to get impressions on eyeballs — I’ve seen your ad 700 times, but if it isn’t visceral, if it isn’t emotional, it’s not likely memorable.” - Michelli

    Competitions are immersive experiences and largely in part to the emotions they create. Consumers must engage in a number of ways: through their actions, mindset and emotions.

    All of these components help competitions leave a lasting impression on consumers and keep them coming back.

    2. Encourages higher engagement 

    Context: “In a well-designed competition I’m going to be able to get some sort of reward, even if I don’t prevail to the dominant one. If I can achieve some small victories along the way, I stay engaged in the hopes that the next time I will play and be able to progress and prevail.” - Michelli

    If there’s one goal every B2C brand wants to achieve, it’s customer engagement. 

    Humans are inherently designed to engage when facing a competition. This is mainly due to their goal-oriented nature, and with the consumer journey being all about reaching a goal, it’s an opportune lane for leveraging competition.

    When customers are aware that a reward, or set of rewards, are available to them, the idea of having that reward encourages them to engage further. And the reward doesn’t have to be big either — it only has to be attractive enough for the consumer to see its value. 

    3. Leverages consumer psychology 

    Context: “There’s a psychology of wanting to make sure that I belong, of wanting to make sure that I have some sort of social status in the group that I’m in. I think that competition in general, and when brands play competitive activities with customers, is an effort for customers to A.) feel belonging and B.) feel some sort of mastery or non-inferiority, to be able to demonstrate that they have competence and they feel good about themselves if they achieve certain levels with a brand.” - Michelli

    Competition is often thought of as a means of separating participants. You have the winners, and you have the losers. You have one team versus the other. But competition is much more than that. There’s also an element of human psychology.

    Humans have an innate desire to belong, just as much as they have an innate desire to win. In the context of the consumer’s journey, participation in a campaign or competition allows customers to engage with others who also have an appreciation for a brand. The further they get in the competition, the more accomplished customers feel, and those feelings usher in brand loyalty.

    4. Supports conversion rates

    Context: “We know that rivalry in the marketplace is a good thing. The goal here is to try and get customers to bid more on a product and spend more money on it, or to invest more and more time with a product, to advance in more of a gamified social status that customers can then project out into the world and say, ‘Hello, I am a victor. I have accomplished something. I have created mastery,’ and it just kind of so happens to be a dynamic or a game with the brand.” - Michelli

    Competitions have a number of benefits, and if executed correctly, they all add up to increased conversion rates. The more customers invest time into a competition and the closer they get to winning a reward, the more they may engage with your brand in hopes of coming out on top. 

    Again, when designed correctly, competition can help customers look at the opportunity to win as worth the investment they're making in your brand and make them feel excited to participate. You’re giving them a chance to reach their goals in a fun and engaging way.

    Creating campaigns that benefit your customers and your brand depends on your ability to get creative. Competition is a part of the human experience, and its psychology leads to many benefits when it comes to brand marketing.


    Lindsay Keener

    Lindsay Keener is a brand journalist for Quikly. She covers stories that help to inform and educate consumer-facing marketers.