Study Finds Consumers More Likely to Buy Products When Time is Mentioned


A Journal of Consumer Research study has concluded that people are more likely to buy and savor products when time (rather than money) is mentioned in marketing campaigns:

When consumers are primed to think about time, they are more likely to feel personal connections with products, explain authors Cassie Mogilner and Jennifer Aaker (both Stanford University).

(Using) surveys, researchers directed participants to think about either money or
time. They then measured consumer satisfaction with products using questionnaires.
In the case of the lemonade stand, the researchers rotated a sign that read “Spend a little
money and enjoy our lemonade,” “Spend a little time and enjoy our lemonade,” or
“Enjoy our lemonade.” The stand’s customers who responded to the “time” sign
expressed the most satisfaction with the product.

“The effect was demonstrated amongst consumers purchasing a cup of lemonade from a
lemonade stand promoted by a sign that mentioned time (vs. money), amongst university
students led to think about the amount of time (vs. money) they had spent on their iPods, amongst restaurant patrons considering the amount of time (vs. money) they spend eating out, and amongst typical consumers evaluating their cars,” write the authors.

“Despite marketers’ frequent decisions to references to these concepts in their
communications, surprisingly little is known about the downstream effects of directing
consumers’ attention to time or money,” write the authors. “This research offers insight
into not only how marketers can make their products more appealing, but also how
consumers can extract greater enjoyment from the products they consume.”

It sounds like consumers value time over money. Wired lifestyles have made time a more important commodity than it used to be; from that standpoint, the study makes a lot of sense. A slogan like “Make Time” would be mighty effective for some product or another. Much better than “Make Money,” in any case.

Written by Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.