How Many Claims Can You Make & Still Be Credible?

November 22, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Many of our FloristWare clients include us in their mailing lists, allowing us to see what they send out to their customers as part of their marketing efforts.

The emails, postcards, brochures, etc. frequently make claims about the business in general ("best", "freshest", "most affordable", "most exclusive", etc.) and also specific products. How many such claims should you make in order to persuade most effectively?

Most commonly we error on the side of too many - we rack up so many claims and so many adjectives it can seem desperate and incredible. It just isn't believable.

We could of go the other way, error on the side of understatement, and make just one or two claims. That seems better but it can also sound weak… there is a "that's it? That's all you have to say for yourself?" reaction with a healthy dose of skepticism.

So what is the right amount? A recent study attempted to find that out. Researchers Suzanne Shu (UCLA Anderson School of Business) and Kurt Carlson (Georgetown University Marketing Department) set out to determine what number of claims gave the best impression and generated the least skepticism.

The results clearly demonstrated an answer they summed up as:

 

Three Charms, Four Alarms

 

Test participants responded far more positively to products that made three claims than those that made one or two. Products that made more than three claims increased skepticism and resistance and were much less effective.

It is very interesting reading and worth reviewing before your next email campaign.

 

Further Reading:

When Three Charms But Four Alarms: Identifying the Optimal Number of Claims in Persuasion Settings
The complete 50-page study.

Two, Four or Six? When Persuading, What Numbers of Claims is Most Effective?
Very good summary of the complete article.



Category: Suggested Reading