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Nudge Marketing definition

Nudge Marketing (© /

Nudge Marketing (© /

Nudge marketing (also simply referred to as “nudge”) is based on a behavioral science concept. This concept stats that motivation and decision-making can be influenced by offering positive reinforcement. In marketing, this theory is used to gain a better understanding of why people make certain purchase decisions and  to develop ways to influence the purchasing decisions that they make. In this article, we provide a more in-depth look at nudge.

Have you ever visited a website to look for a product to purchase, yet didn’t have a specific product in mind? While you were browsing, did you notice a product that was labeled “best seller”? If so, then you have experienced nudge marketing. By labeling a product as “best seller”, the retailer was hoping to influence your decision to purchase that particular item. The goal of marketing is to persuade consumers to make purchases, and nudge supports this process.

Creating Positive Influences with Good Nudge

Creating a positive influence on a consumer’s decision-making is linked to a term that is referred to as a good nudge. Basically, a good nudge is a marketing strategy that seeks to influence the behavior of a consumer in a positive way. For instance, if someone is shopping for a new mattress yet doesn’t know exactly what mattress they would like to purchase, a salesperson will show the shopper the mattress that receive the highest ratings and has all of the latest features. In doing this, the salesperson is hoping to positively influence the shopper by encouraging him or her to purchase said mattress.

Creating Negative Influences: Bad Nudging

There are also bad nudges, which are, as you would imagine, the opposite of good nudges. In essence, a bad nudge makes it difficult for shoppers to understand the true purpose of a particular product. A bad nudge misleads shoppers into making a bad decision. For instance, if you have ever purchased a meal from a fast food establishment and were asked if you wanted to supersize the meal (a larger soft drink and fries) for a slight increase in the total amount, you have experienced a bad nudge. While you do get more if you opt for supersizing your meal, the decision is bad for your health. In other words, a bad nudge is bad for the consumer.

How to Effectively Use Nudge Marketing

So how can you avoid nudging your shoppers in a negative way and instead nudge them in a way that will benefit both you and them? Here’s a look at some tips to keep in mind when using the nudge theory in marketing:

  • Avoid nudging in a way that is completely obvious that it is only benefitting you. Supersizing a fast food order is an example of something that you should completely avoid doing when you are trying to nudge your shoppers. You don’t want to come across as being underhanded, as doing so will have a negative impact on your reputation.
  • Send follow-ups. You can send follow-up emails to consumers. For example, if you operate a hotel and someone has booked a room, send out an email a few weeks before and the week before the person has made a reservation for to ensure that they can still make it.
  • Be friendly. You want to make sure that you are always friendly with your nudging attempts. You should completely avoid being pushy or saying anything negative to try pressure shoppers into making a purchase. Doing so will have the opposite effect on influencing shoppers purchasing decisions.

Is the Nudge Theory Beneficial to Marketing?

There are people that support the nudge theory and those that are opposed to it. Does it work or doesn’t it? If it is applied properly, it can be extremely beneficial. It can help to build your reputation and encourage consumers to make purchases, which can certainly increase your success. However, if it isn’t used properly, you can end up damaging your reputation, discouraging purchases and essentially harm the success of your business. When using the nudge theory, make sure that you take the right steps to ensure that you set yourself – and your shoppers – up for success so that you can reap t7he benefits.