From The McKinsey Quarterly:
Long before behavioral economics had a name, marketers were using it. “Three for the price of two” offers and extended-payment layaway plans became widespread because they worked—not because marketers had run scientific studies showing that people prefer a supposedly free incentive to an equivalent price discount or that people often behave irrationally when thinking about future consequences. Yet despite marketing’s inadvertent leadership in using principles of behavioral economics, few companies use them in a systematic way. In this article, we highlight four practical techniques that should be part of every marketer’s tool kit.
Among the key points, the one that stands out is “Make a product’s price less painful.” This includes profiting from hyperbolic discounting and exploiting mental accounting. Manipulating default options and harnessing choice-set-dependent preferences also figure prominently.
Evidently marketing will soon supplant finance as the relevant outside option for new Economics PhD’s bargaining over academic salaries.