How Scarcity & Impatience Drive Irrational User Behavior

Scarcity

Curated by Yu-kai Chou, President of Octalysis Group. Yu-kai is a gamification pioneer and President of Octalysis Group, as well as an international keynote speaker and lecturer at Stanford, TEDx, SxSW, and Accenture. Yu-kai was rated the “Top Gamification Guru” by the Spain-Based World Gamification Congress in 2014.

While much literature is dedicated to engaging users by making everything easy, usable, valuable, and accessible, there is a whole other Black Hat world of creating obsessive and habit-like behavior through inconveniencing users or limiting their access to what they want. There are many cases where, by merely raising prices, more people wanted to buy. Similarly, by temporarily withholding great features for users, you can turn indifferent consumers into fanatic evangelists.

This is an introduction piece to the mysterious and irrational drive of Scarcity & Impatience. Starting off with some pop culture references featuring South Park and George Clooney, it comes all the way around to commerce and product design.

After reading the examples of Scarcity given, can you think of times where you became obsessed over something simply because it was barred from you?

This piece relates Scarcity and Exclusivity to app development and product rollouts.

What do you notice as the key differences between the effective examples and the failed scarcity attempts?

Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: Science & Practice, is one of the leading experts on the topic of Scarcity and Social Proofing. While I recommend buying and reading his book, this webinar summarizes many of Cialdini’s research and findings relating to Scarcity.

How can you apply some of these principles in scarcity to your own product or business?

In this post, you will learn about how games use two Game Techniques to monetize consumers who would never imagine themselves spending real money to buy virtual currencies. We then explore how companies like Dropbox utilize the same game technique, called Anchor Juxtaposition, to monetize while growing virally.

How can you implement Anchored Juxtaposition into your product to increase both desired actions and monetization?

Ever find yourself needing to persuade buyers or investors to give you money or take action? Oren Klaff is a professional fundraiser and the author of Pitch Anything (another book I recommend reading). Klaff has personally raised over $450 Million – an average rate of $2M a week, using techniques he calls Neuroeconomics. In this video, start midway and learn about how he closes big deals by making himself the hard-won prize and why “Our Croc Brain naturally wants to chase after things that are running away.”

Can you think about how to utilize the concepts of Framing, Prizing, and Scarcity to drive more action and engagement from your customers or users?

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