The Decoy Effect
The outcome of someone's decision can easily be influenced simply by the way in which the options are presented to them.
In one study, a group of students were give the following The Economist magazine (it's a great read btw) subscription options:
Option A - Online only for £59
Option B - Print only for £125
Option C - Print & Online - £125
Astonishingly, nearly 85% of respondents chose the most expensive, ‘combined’ option.
When the inferior option I.e. the middle or ‘decoy’ option was removed and tested with a second group of students, interest in the ‘combined’ option (I.e. Print & Online) fell to just 32%.
What are the implications of this seemingly irrational choice? What can you learn from it?
Firstly, it seems that you really can lead a horse to water after all. Secondly, if you're trying to get someone to pick a certain product or service make sure that you include a range of options - some of which may be less attractive - in order to encourage interest in the option you are trying to steer them towards.