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Does mentioning time or money influence peoples’ evaluation of the product or service?

Yep, it does.

In the context of a real business situation the experimenters claim that mentioning time versus money in marketing materials and promotional campaigns can make a product not only more attractive but also more valued too

Campaigns that promote certain brands of beers have long used references to time and money in their advertisements. Take for example Miller and their “It’s Miller Time” commercials. In contrast Stella Artois take a money led approach by informing potential consumers that “perfection has its price” and that Stella Artois is “reassuringly expensive”.  It’s not just beer manufacturers that employ such approaches. Citibank, one of the world’s largest banking corporations, chose to focus on time rather than money in a campaign that proclaimed “there is no preset limit when it comes to spending time with your family”.

There can be little doubt that employing references to time and money in an attempt to influence and persuade are commonplace. But exactly how effective are such strategies and specifically which is the more effective strategy?

The findings of the study suggest that people in general are more influenced to make a product purchase when they are primed to think about time rather than money.

But what effect might that have on the perceived value of the product being purchased? Or put another way, do people who purchase a product place a higher value and think the product is worth more if they are primed to think about the time they spend rather than the money they spend?

…In the context of a real business situation the experimenters claim that mentioning time versus money in marketing materials and promotional campaigns can make a product not only more attractive but also more valued too.

But why? The researchers thought that one potential explanation could be that because someone’s experience of a product is likely to generate feelings of personal connection asking people to consider their time could lead to more favourable attitudes and decisions. In an attempt to test this idea another set of experiments was conducted on a product that people routinely invest both a considerable amount of their time and money on. The iPod…

These results then suggest that irrespective of the amount of money an individual might spend on a product (after all lemonade and iPods have significantly different price points) making references to time can influence people’s perception of a product’s attributes. Therefore it would seem to sense to initially include references to time rather than money when influencing others to consider your offers and proposals. With one exception.

The researchers found that when the products concerned are considered ‘prestigious possessions’ and your influence target is more ‘materialistic’, then making references to money rather than time should be more persuasive due to the fact that in this group the feeling of personal connection would more likely stem from possessing the product rather than the experience itself.

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Sources: (Cassie Mogilner and Jennifer Aaker (2009). “The Time vs. Money Effect”: Shifting Product Attitudes and Decisions through Personal Connection. Journal of Consumer Research Vol 36, 277 – 291) and http://www.insideinfluence.com/inside-influence-report/2009/12/the-time-versus-money-effect.html

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