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January 9, 2015
When Consumers Battle 'Ego Depletion'
 
Resolve. How many of us can truly say that we have it?

Consumers are constantly bombarded with advertising, promotions, free trials, BOGOs, and sales, so it takes a strong will in order to deny any brand the opportunity of receiving your money.

Indeed, advertising and marketing have the goal of lowering the defenses of consumers and persuading them with the information and sweet talk that money can buy.

Of course, with more information out there now, consumers feel more informed. Would it, then, be harder for advertisers to persuade, or is it inevitable?

Consumer behavior and sociology would dictate that the more we battle against the grain, the faster we as consumers experience "ego depletion," or the wearing of our self-control and decision-making to the point that we would be inclined to give in to certain desires or influences.

Ego depletion makes sense; no defense can continue to be utterly impenetrable. Like a castle wall, if a boulder or cannonball hits it, the wall, though still erect, is not as strong as it once was. As the wall continues to get peppered, sooner or later the wall will fall.

Consumer science suggests that our self-control has limits, like the wall illustration. As advertisers and marketers, we have an interesting question: Do we use this information to wear down consumer resolve and guide them to make decisions that they may not otherwise? Or, do we respect the ego depletion factor and use other methods to garner positive interaction and, ultimately, a purchase?

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Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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