Instant vs. Delayed Gratification

Marketers and companies trying to motivate customers to buy, value instant gratification as a reliable tool.   Everyday, we are bombarded by  3-day sale ads, along with no money down and no interest for x months offers to make otherwise impossible purchases, within our immediate reach (if we’re willing to pay a lender a hefty bonus).

According to Sally Hogshead, Author of Fascinate: your 7 triggers to persuasion and captivation, “Alarm” is one of 7 triggers that is widely used to unconsciously motivate us to buy products and services.  “Time limits incite faster decisions” says Hogshead in this short video describing the Alarm trigger.  By shifting our bodily chemistry, this trigger distracts us from our logical thought process, making the buying decision easier.

Meanwhile, young parents struggling to stay on budget may fight the impulse of instant gratification on a daily basis, to help keep their finances in order.  A college graduate struggling to stay afloat financially would do well to develop a strong delayed gratification approach to purchases.  Web services like Mint and software like YNAB offer low cost solutions for managing cash-flow for the average person, helping to plan, track and stick to a budget.

Personally, I value delayed gratification.  My wife and I struggled for a years with money, but finally have gotten to a good place.  A few techniques we’ve used to succeed in this shift were 1) set specific uses for our money, 2) work together to hold ourselves accountable for impulse spending, and 3) dedicate one hour every week to go over our finances together.  In regards to ideas and working in the industry, it is important to know that not all ideas are perfect “right now.”  Some ideas, will be great in a few months, or even years.  Being able to assess “when” an idea, song, or script is relevant to your job or industry is a valuable tool.  I constantly ponder, when I should bring up ideas to my peers.  An additional benefit to this approach is more time to develop the ideas.



Hogshead, S. (2010). Fascinate: your 7 triggers to persuasion and captivation. New York: HarperBusiness.

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Posted on February 20, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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