Boomerang Effect

Today’s newsletter is sponsored by Vouch

Imagine this…

Everyone on the internet is talking about ice baths.

You want the increased productivity you’ve heard about, but you’re having trouble buying in.

Something about it just seems suspicious.

You decide to do your own research.

You watch YouTube videos where people talk about the “life-changing” benefits of cold plunging. You read reviews from happy customers who bought a cold plunge tub, and you reach out to a friend who posted an Instagram video of her cold plunging.

Your friend is particularly passionate about the topic. She raves about her experience saying,

“You’ll love it. Everyone I know is getting into it. You’d be stupid not to try it.”

The more aggressively she tries to persuade you, the more resistance you feel.

It feels like she’s pushing too hard.

Why are you suddenly hesitant to make the purchase?

In today’s edition of Why We Buy, we’re taking a look at the Boomerang Effect – why we sometimes take the opposite stance when someone tries to force their opinion on us.

Let’s get into it…

Social proof is powerful.
But in a world where customers are slow to trust and quick to scroll, is anyone really reading your case studies?

Video testimonials help your brand stand out.

They build a personal connection, customer to customer, and are more believable and engaging than written testimonials.

Vouch makes them easy to capture.

Simply set your questions, share a link and get bite-sized clips of social proof back. Ready for you to share everywhere.

The Psychology of the Boomerang Effect 🧠

The Boomerang Effect (aka “reactance”) describes the unintended consequences of an attempt to persuade resulting in the adoption of an opposing position instead.

If a message is too forceful, sometimes the recipient will ignore it.

In 1965, Stanford researchers asked 40 children to rate 5 toys on a scale of 1-100.

Four of the toys were classic toys at the time. One of them was a fancy battery-powered robot.

Once each child had rated the toys, the researchers left the room for a few minutes. But, before they left, they told half the children they’d get in trouble if they played with the robot while the researcher was gone.

One child from each group played with the robot.

Here’s where the experiment actually started: a few weeks later, the researchers brought the same group of children back to the same room (and purposely left the robot toy there).

This time they asked the children to draw a picture. Then, the researcher told the child they had to leave the room for a few minutes.

77% of the children that were told not to play with the robot in the first experiment played with it this time.

And only 33% of the children that weren’t told they’d get in trouble for playing with the robot in the first experiment played with it.

Why do we want to do something more when someone tells us not to?

Inside Your Buyer’s Mind🧐

There’s a part of our minds resistant to new information.

We want to keep ourselves safe. That means we can’t afford to get manipulated.

The Boomerang Effect is our mind’s resistance tool. Researchers believe it gets triggered when:

  • We don’t want to go against the social norm
  • We don’t fully understand what we’re being told
  • We feel emotionally confronted
  • We think someone is trying to manipulate us
  • We feel like the new information provided actually makes us believe what the opposite more

This is starting to look like an audit checklist every marketing messaging strategy should go through…

How To Apply This 🤑

Alright, so how can we apply this right now to sell more?

Use the Boomerang Effect to get more engagement

Controversial or contrarian thinking gets engagement online.

The people that don’t buy into your beliefs accidentally push your messaging to more people by engaging with your contrarian content.

And that can help you find buyers aligned with your messaging.

Nick Huber uses controversy to grow his personal brand (and companies). He purposely shares hot takes that repel the wrong buyers and attract the right ones.

People show their disdain by replying or sharing his tweets (with their opinion of why it’s wrong).

His engagement skyrockets. He gets seen by more buyers aligned with his beliefs.

(BTW, you don’t have to be as controversial as Nick. There’s a spectrum and you get to decide where you want to land on it).

Ask your buyers how your messaging is landing

Do your buyers believe what you’re telling them? Or are you unintentionally pushing them in the opposite direction?

Marketers are vehicles of information. We take the information about our products and bring it to our buyers in a way that hits home for them.

Not for you. Not for your boss.

It’s about what your buyers think (which may be the opposite of what you do!). 

I’m a huge advocate for conducting customer interviews to understand buyers, but there are many different ways to do customer research. The better you understand buyers, the better your messaging will be.

Choose your common enemy

Your buyers are worried about being manipulated. When things don’t go as planned in life, they’ll look for someone to blame.

By uniting against a common enemy, you show your buyers that you’re on the same team as them. You’re both fighting the same foe.

Common enemies can be:

  • Other brands
  • Personal beliefs
  • The social norm
  • Authority figures

Find the common enemy that strikes the largest emotional chord in your buyers.

The Short of It 💥

Parents have used reverse-psychology on their kids for centuries.

Because it works.

Our minds are built for resistance.

And marketers have to overcome it to get their audience to buy in.

Until next time, happy selling. 




Wanna really get inside your buyer’s head?

There are a few ways I can help:

  1. Get explosive clarity about what works with buyers by learning how to conduct 1:1 Clarity Calls (3200+ happy students)
  2. Learn how to mine online reviews from real buyers to generate ideas and copy that converts (500+ happy students)
  3. Book a 1:1 strategy call with Katelyn and get the answers you need to get unstuck and move forward with confidence
  4. Apply to sponsor an upcoming issue of Why We Buy (next opening in June)

Thank you to our featured sponsor

Written By Katelyn

Katelyn Bourgoin is the CEO of Customer Camp, a 4X founder, and a cheese lover. She lives by a simple mantra: whoever gets closer to the customer wins.

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