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Have We Got a Deal for You: Do You Want the Good News or Bad News First?
Have we got a deal for you! Do you want the good news or the bad news first?
J. Jeffrey Inman
J. Jeffrey Inman

Jeffrey Inman, Albert Wesley Frey Professor of Marketing and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty, Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Key Findings: The research found that leading with the bad news first (the restriction) followed by the good news (the discount) is consistent with consumer news order preferences and changes perceptions of the deal. This is especially true with event ticket offers. Traditional practice prominently presents offers (e.g., “50% Off”) followed by a quantity (“When you buy two”), duration (“Today only”), or other conditional restriction as a scarcity appeal to increase urgency.

Recommendation: Lead with the bad news (of the restriction first, discount later) to increase the attractiveness of the deal. Example: “Buy two today, save 50%.” This makes the customer feel in greater control over the offer, thereby making the deal appear to be fairer and more attractive, increasing the desire to buy.

Researchers: Jeff Inman; Kirk Wakefield, Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing, Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University; and Priya Raghubir, Dean Abraham L. Gitlow Professor of Business, Stern School of Business, New York University.

Methodology: Four studies were conducted using online experiments and field experiments with consumers. The research was done in collaboration with NBA team the Dallas Mavericks. 

Additional Details: Journal of Service Research: Have We Got a Deal for You: Do You Want the Good News or Bad News First?