Is choice really an option?

By: Richard Michie

At a recent Bettakultcha event, our first themed one – The Importance of Failure, we did a little experiment with the ticketing options.

Previously events had been priced at £5 or £6, sometimes with an Early Bird discount for ticket buyers who were quick off the mark. All pretty standard stuff.

In the spirit of ‘The Importance of Failure’ we decided to test the ticketing options for the event. We offered three kinds of ticket.

  1. Life isn’t fair, but we are. Pay what you can afford.
  2. If you don’t know how great Bettakultcha is, £5 is fine.
  3. We’d like to pay our presenters. If you know how great Bettakultcha is and you’re rich, help us out please. – £30

How do you think this would turn out?

Given 3 choices, one of which the audience where very used to, once which gave them the freedom to experience Bettakultcha for a price of their choosing, or a pretty random price which didn’t offer any more benefit but cost far more than any ticket had done previously. How would the ticket pan out? 

The cynical among you may think that the majority of people would select ‘Pay what you can afford’ and then pay the smallest amount possible. The optimists out there, would love to believe that everyone would pay slightly more than they were used to paying as an acknowledgement of the great work Bettakultcha has been doing!

The actual figures are a revelation

  • 70 x £5.00
  • 33 x £10.00
  • 15 x £1.00
  • 7 x £3.00
  • 7 x £6.00
  • 5 x £2.00
  • 5 x £4.00
  • 3 x £15.00
  • 3 x £30.00
  • 2 x £7.50
  • 1 x £4.99
  • 1 x £ 6.01
  • 1 x £7.00
  • 1 x £20.00

People choose what they’re used to – or just the one in the middle!

The psychology bit of marketing states that you should always give people three choices. That way there aren’t too many and there’s always a middle way. Most people given the choice like to sit on the fence, so the middle option tends to win out.

The really pleasant surprise was that people generously opted to pay more than the fiver. 

For details of the next Bettakultcha and other events take a look at the events section of the site.

Here’s Tom Riordan’s talk from Bettakultcha – The Importance of Failure – enjoy.

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