They’re totally awesome – little balls of structural advantage with a cute little name.
My credit union uses a nudge on its members. Every time I call I get the automated operator. The friendly voice instructs me follow the touchpad operations.
“For lending, press 1.”
“For member service, press 2.”
Aha! You already see the marketing genius right there. Credit unions make killer money on lending, but not so much member service. The credit union knows this and makes “lending” the first option when you call in. Surely lending doesn’t get more calls than any other product combined.
Certainly a few hot leads click into the lending department when they would probably be better to speak to member service about their particular problem. Suckers are born every minute!
Oh – and let’s think about the kind of people who are going to press 1 before they hear about option #2. I guarantee you they’re significantly more impulsive spenders than the people who wait for all the options.
My credit union is a nudge machine.
Nudges are Awesome
I’ve spent a lot of time writing posts about nudges, which I call boring old structural advantage. I’ve written about why Discover is the best credit card marketer, why Buffett is a liar when it comes to railroads, and how to use structural advantage to win at Monopoly.
And we can’t forget about how to pick a seat in class, either – structural advantage is at play here, too.
But most importantly, I’ve blown a lot of time over at the Nudge blog.
Nudge Your Way into School
Needless to say, I was pretty stoked last night when I heard that the District of Columbia would enact its own nudge.
What’s that nudge, you ask? Oh – you know, it’s no big deal. Some mayor just wants to require that every student apply to college in order to get their high school diploma. (Insanity source.)
I’m not making this up. Now, obviously, D.C. isn’t going to require you actually go to college. Nope – just apply for one.
Anyone can figure out this proposed law:
- If you apply to go to college you get your diploma.
- If you don’t, then you won’t graduate high school.
Obviously this is a very strong nudge to get people to apply for school who otherwise wouldn’t. Cheap money, guaranteed approval, and endless financial aid are apparently not enough to lure a worthy crop of college students. Naturally, you have to make them do it.
This nudge comes with costs. Someone has to read the application of disinterested students while someone at the high school has to make sure disinterested students send their applications.
Now I’m not one to hide how I feel – I think this nudge is probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard of – but I wanted to get your opinion.
Is this a nudge or a shove?
Photo by: Plenty