Welcome to the latest installation of our weekly blog series – Psychological Hacks for Marketers. Each week we will introduce a new shortcut that the consumer’s brand takes and how the crafty marketer can take advantage. Last week’s topic was Authority.

This week we are discussing:

Outcome Bias

Outcome bias is a bit more complex than other cognitive biases that we have discussed in this series. Outcome bias does not come into play at the moment of a decision, but afterward. It is defined as the tendency to view a decision made in the past based on the outcome, instead of on the actual decision process itself.

A common example has to do with gambling. If you bet $500 at a casino and end up winning $500, it’s easy to think that the decision to gamble was a good one. If you bet that same $500 and lose it all, we might then think the decision to gamble was a bad one.

The decision was the same. The outcome decided how we judged the decision.

For marketers looking to use the outcome bias to their advantage, it’s not so complicated. Just focus on outcomes:

  • Use of customer success stories that feature real people who have experienced positive outcomes from your product or service helps to convince prospective customers that the decision to buy from you is a good one.
  • Showcase benefits from using your product rather than the product itself, allowing prospects to “see” what their life would be like with your product.
  • Use of limited-time trials take advantage of outcome bias by giving someone a positive experience with your product before asking them to pay for it. They judge the decision then on the “outcomes” they’ve already seen.

Smart marketers can use outcome bias to overcome that final hurdle in the decision making process of their customers.

Stay tuned next week for another installment of the Psychology Hacks series. Have a suggestion? Let us know.