Temporal myopia is the tendency to prioritize immediate concerns over long-term considerations. In other words, it’s the way people focus on what’s happening right now, rather than what might happen in the future. This bias can be leveraged in marketing, sales, branding, design, and advertising in several ways, including:
1. Early Bird Gets the Worm
By offering special discounts or perks to customers who act quickly, businesses can tap into the natural tendency of individuals to prioritize immediate benefits and drive sales. Early bird offers create a sense of urgency and encourage customers to take advantage of the opportunity before it’s too late.
Example: A clothing store is having a limited time sale with a 20% discount on all items. To further incentivize customers, the store is offering an additional 10% discount to the first five customers to who make a purchase. The store displays posters and signs throughout the store with slogans such as “Early Bird Offer: Get an Extra 10% Off!” to emphasize the benefits of taking immediate action.
By leveraging the power of countdowns, businesses can create a sense of urgency and tap into customers’ natural inclination to prioritize immediate benefits. Whether it’s through a timer on a website, in an email campaign, or on social media, countdowns encourage customers to act quickly and make a purchase before time runs out.
Example: A clothing store is having a flash sale for 24 hours only. To increase the impact of the sale and encourage customers to act quickly, the store adds a countdown timer to their website, social media pages, and email campaigns. The timer displays the time remaining until the sale ends with language such as “Only X Hours Left”
3. Emphasizing immediate benefits
Emphasizing immediate benefits is a key strategy for tapping into customers’ tendency to prioritize short-term outcomes and make decisions based on what will benefit them most in the present moment. By highlighting the immediate rewards that come with your product or service, you can increase the perceived value of your offering and drive customer action.
Example: A gym offers a special promotion for new members who sign up within the next 7 days. The gym highlights the immediate benefits of joining, such as a complimentary personal training session and a discount on the enrollment fee, with language such as “Sign Up Now and Get X Benefits Instantly.”
4. Fostering a “try it now” mentality
By fostering a “try it now” mentality, you can encourage customers to take action and try your product or service without fear of commitment. Offering a trial period or a money-back guarantee can tap into customers’ tendency to prioritize immediate benefits and ignore long-term consequences, making it easier for them to take the first step and experience the value of your offering.
Example: A subscription service for healthy snacks offers a free trial for new customers. The service emphasizes the immediate benefits of trying their product with language such as “Get a Taste of Healthy Snacks with Our Risk-Free Trial!” and highlights the flexibility of the offer with a “Cancel Anytime” promise. By making it easy for customers to try their product without committing, the service can build trust and demonstrate the value of their offering.
5. Take Advantage of the Season
Take advantage of seasonal events by offering limited time promotions or special deals. This taps into customers’ desire for immediate benefits and can drive sales during the season.
By tying your offerings to seasonal events, you can create a sense of urgency and capitalize on the festive spirit. Whether it’s a holiday sale or a summer clearance event, customers are more likely to take advantage of a good deal when it’s only available for a limited time. Make the most of the season and turn the holidays into a cash-cow for your business.
Example: “Halloween Haunts-tings: Spooky Savings!”, “Season’s Greetings: Holiday Deals Galore!”, “Summer Sale”, “Back to School Special”
6. Impulse Purchases
Lure customers into making quick and impulsive purchases by showcasing irresistible grab-and-go items near the checkout. These items should be small, low-cost, and offer immediate benefits, like a delicious snack or a useful accessory. This taps into customers’ tendency to prioritize immediate benefits and drive sales.
Example: “Need a snack? Grab a bag of chips!”, “Don’t leave without our cool keychain” at the store OR “Add-on items” before checkout on your website By keeping these items within reach, you tap into customers’ tendency to prioritize immediate benefits and drive sales with minimal effort.
7. Maximize Scarcity with “Only X Left” Marketing
Maximizing scarcity with “only X left” marketing is all about making your customers feel like they need to act fast in order to take advantage of a limited opportunity. By highlighting the limited availability of your product or service, you can tap into customers’ natural sense of urgency and drive sales.
Example: You could showcase a banner on your website that reads “Hurry, Only 5 Items Left in Stock!” next to your best-selling product. This message makes it clear that customers need to act quickly if they want to take advantage of the limited opportunity to purchase this product. The use of numbers adds a concrete and tangible element to the sense of scarcity, making it more compelling for customers to take action.
There are several other cognitive biases that are related to Temporal Myopia, including:
Present Bias: Present bias is the tendency to give too much weight to immediate rewards and too little weight to future rewards. This bias can lead to procrastination and difficulty making long-term decisions.
Hyperbolic Discounting: Hyperbolic discounting is the tendency to discount the value of future rewards more than they should be discounted. This leads to an emphasis on immediate rewards and a neglect of future rewards.
Availability Bias: Availability bias is the tendency to make decisions based on the most easily available information, rather than considering all relevant information. This can lead to an undue emphasis on short-term information and a neglect of long-term information.
“How Marketers Can Leverage Temporal Myopia to Boost Sales” by John Paul Narowski (https://www.convinceandconvert.com/marketing/temporal-myopia-boost-sales/)
“The Power of Immediate Gratification: How Temporal Myopia Impacts Consumer Behaviour” by Kate Ancketill (https://glimpsegroup.com/the-power-of-immediate-gratification-how-temporal-myopia-impacts-consumer-behaviour/)
“Temporal Myopia: Understanding the Power of the Present Moment in Marketing” by Jennifer Jamieson (https://www.chiefmarketer.com/temporal-myopia-understanding-power-present-moment-marketing/)
“The Psychology of Present Bias in Marketing and How to Leverage it for Maximum Results” by Dr. James Lloyd (https://www.brandingbrand.com/blog/the-psychology-of-present-bias-in-marketing-and-how-to-leverage-it-for-maximum-results/)
“The Power of Present Bias in Marketing: How to Use it to Drive Sales” by Jamin Brazil (https://www.business2community.com/marketing/the-power-of-present-bias-in-marketing-how-to-use-it-to-drive-sales-02166603)
“Present Bias in Marketing: Understanding the Power of the Now” by Holly Chessman (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/272624)
“Hyperbolic Discounting in Marketing: Understanding and Leveraging the Power of Immediate Gratification” by Dr. Julian L. Simon (https://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2015/27652/hyperbolic-discounting-in-marketing-understanding-and-leveraging-the-power-of-immediate-gratification)
“How to Use Hyperbolic Discounting in Marketing to Increase Sales” by Adam Kleinberg (https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/11/08/how-to-use-hyperbolic-discounting-in-marketing-to-increase-sales/?sh=16f1e0e958a0)
“Hyperbolic Discounting and Marketing: The Power of Immediate Gratification” by Dr. Tamara Mendelsohn (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/271736)
“The Impact of Availability Bias on Consumer Decision Making and How Marketers Can Leverage it” by Dr. David A. Hofmann (https://www.marketingprofs.com/chirp/2015/28179/the-impact-of-availability-bias-on-consumer-decision-making-and-how-marketers-can-leverage-it)