get the language right

77% of decisions are influenced by language

This is the fourth of 20 daily THOUGHTS examining the emotions in marketing.In a now famous study, behavioural economist Dan Ariely examined two purchase decisions:

  • Purchase decision 1 – a quality chocolate for 15c or a cheap chocolate for .01c
  • Purchase decision 2 – the quality chocolate for 14c and the cheap chocolate for FREE
Note that:
  • in both decision-making situations, the gap in the pricing is the same
  • the same recognised brands of chocolate were used in both trials
The findings:
  • Purchase decision 1 – 75% purchased the quality chocolate
  • Purchase decision 2 – 60% selected the cheap chocolate
From this study it was concluded as follows:
  • Free is a powerful word
  • Language is important in influencing decision-making

This study also demonstrated that human decision-making is often less than rational. The fact is, like it or not, human beings are not rational and purchase behaviour is influenced by emotions, which are, in turn, influenced by the language used in marketing.

There are many words that influence emotions. The degree of influence depends on the words and the audience. For example:

  • Secret
  • Confidential
  • Controversial
  • Forbidden
  • Censored
  • Blacklisted
  • Magical
  • Instantly

There are, of course, hundreds of words that can have an emotional impact on purchase decisions. The point is that emotions are important and emotional language can influence purchase behaviour more than facts and figures.


Emotions impact purchase behaviour more than logic and language can play a big part in triggering the emotions that drive purchase behaviour.

No matter what sector you are in and who your customers are, give priority to emotions and use language that will trigger the desired emotions.


Office Hacks, B2B Marketing, CMO, IntegriaIMS, Research Services, Business Jargon, Customer Behaviour, INC, Psychology Today, Chron, Influencer, Lucidchart, Hubspot, Marketing91, Guided selling, Shopify, Business to Community, Stakla, Ferrari Chat, Entrepreneur, Influencer and Forbes

FOLLOW ME@djohncarlson
No tags 0