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When excitement influences consumer behavior

One chapter of the book by Dan Ariely is dedicated to how consumers behave when they are excited. Ariely describes an experiment he did with students whose decisions under sexual excitement were measured and assessed. The conclusions were crystal-clear : excited students were much less able to make appropriate decisions.

I experienced this myself with a recent big purchase I made.
Those who have followed this blog for a long time know that one of my dreams was to buy a vintage car, one that I had always dreamt about : a BMW 635 csi in Royalblue. I had actively been looking for one for several years in whole Europe and was desperate to eventually find one that would fulfill all my requirements. Until one day when an alert popped up in my mail box : the right year, the right paint color, the right leather color, … a 100% match only 5 km from my home. I couldn’t believe it.
I immediately got in touch with the seller and was able to see the car first. I was accompanied by a friend of mine who is an avid oldtimer collector and fine connoisseur. He checked for me the most crucial points on that car : corrosion, general state, … and gave me green light on those.
I felt liberated. The desire was so high that I immediately checked hands with the seller and … forgot to negotiate the price (which I normally always do).

This is the most perfect example I can give of how emotions and excitement modify our ability to make rational decisions.


This anecdotal example has huge consequences for your marketing strategy. It tells you that you can actually influence the behavior of prospective customers (for instance to buy your stuffs). If consumers are excited this may make them behave irrationally. Excitement can be created by a variety of sensory cues but employees can also play a role. Being courteous (as I explained in this example) can also create some particular emotions that will alter consumer behavior. Was it rational from me to go three times in a row in the same restaurant ? Probably not.

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Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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