Endowed Progress Effect.

You’ve seen them a hundred times in fast food chains, Starbucks, and even airlines. You probably have one or more in your wallet. Branded incentive programs that use behavioral research to encourage you to help the company reach its revenue goals.

If you sell a product line within your clinic or a service such as education, understanding the endowed progress effect could help you increase sales or reduce dropout over the long-term.

The Theory:

If you set a reward based goal and provide a path to the goal, an artificial advancement toward attaining the goal increases motivation to complete the goal.

In Action:

Which of the following cards do you think is more likely to motivate people to collect all of the education points?

How to use the Endowed Progress Effect

If you guessed card A, you are right. Although the effort is identical with each card, ten education visits, earning two check marks before starting is more motivating than the apparent smaller number of steps to the goal in card B.

This phenomenon, called the endowed progress effect, was demonstrated in a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research called “The endowed progress effect: How artificial advancement increases effort.”

The research showed that if you award progress toward a goal to get people started. It reduces the perception of work remaining to reach the goal.

How to use the Endowed Progress Effect

  1. Calculate 15 to 25% of the total effort and endow by this much at the beginning.
  2. Ensure that the final reward is of sufficient value to the client to create desire
  3. Don’t be tempted to endow at the end. Adding check marks in circles 9 and ten above does not yield the same motivation. In fact, it has the opposite effect.
  4. Find a way to start people in your loyalty program seamlessly. If you have an introductory seminar, for example, give the cards with endowment awarded simply for attending the seminar or completing one online.

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