They Already Know Which Product You Will Purchase Even Before You Do!

I ran a poll yesterday on LinkedIn yesterday and the results are very interesting to say the least.

The choices to make for the participants was:

  1. $25/month Print Newspaper ONLY
  2. $50/mo Digital Print ONLY
  3. $50/mo Print+Digital Access

As is evident from the poll, the second subscription was the most selected one.

What do you think happened here?

Most people missed the point that for the same $50/mo they could have also had Print newspaper along with Digital subscription for FREE. That is exactly what the third subscription is about and yet many people missed it!

Now blow this up to a real-life version where subscriptions ranging from your morning coffee to your newspaper have millions in subscribers – imagine the number of folks falling into this clever psychological trap: most people were expected to choose option two – the placement of that option is by design – in consumer psychology called “The Centre Stage Effect” – we tend to pick the item placed in the centre.


Add to the Center Stage Effect, the narrative on how you position the product plays a key role. In my poll notice I add “ONLY” to the first two subscription plans thus placing in my viewers minds two real choices of the same nature. The third subscription does not fall into a pattern and hence your brain looks at it as an outlier.

Imagine if I had changed the poll choices to the following. The results would have been significantly different.

  1. $25/month Print Newspaper ONLY
  2. $50/mo Digital Print ONLY
  3. $50/mo COMPLETE Print+Digital Access

Our default functioning of the brain is to go linear

Without much doubt, third subscription stands out with clear emphasis on you getting COMPLETE access to both print and digital – that is the option I am hacking your brain to read first. Our default functioning of the brain is to go linear – our brains often want to make simple straight connections in sequential order.

Like in the original poll you go from option 1 to 2 to 3. But here the above poll, the emphasis on COMPLETE means I am breaking that pattern to ensure you read option three first and lay importance on this one.

So the next time you have three subscriptions to choose from for a newsletter, three coffees to pick from at Starbucks, three shirts to choose from Amazon – remember your brain is designed to pick the middle one and the clever marketers know this hack very well.


Remember if there’s a superlative (the biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone, toughest gorilla glass on a smartphone) in the product description, you are being marketed to pick that one.

iPhone Life

Remember if there are caps and words in bold or other highlighters to make an option stand out, the marketer wants you to pick that one.


Choose wisely!

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