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What is Elaboration Likelihood Model - ELM? Examples of ELM

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

In this article, we will discuss how to hack persuasion using a proven technique of ELM.

Before understanding the ELM, let us first understand how a person makes a purchase. There are two kinds of thinking a person does to decide what to buy. Either he/she will think deeply (we call this: High Elaboration) or he/she will decide by the gut (we call this: Low Elaboration).


Let's take a below where two ladies purchase the same car but via a different model of thinking. Here Lady A is relying more on the utilitarian aspect of the car while Lady B is focused on the instant gratification of buying a car. In the real world, customers fall on the spectrum between High Elaboration to No Elaboration.


But, as a marketeer how will you predict which method your target group is more biased towards?


Choice of Route depends upon 3 things related to your potential customer.


1: Motivation

Eagerness, Need & Curiosity induce motivation.

E.g. A person suffering from insomnia may take extra interest in your easy-sleep mattress ads. While a healthy sleeper may want an extra year in warranty.


2: Ability

Intellect & Experience improves Ability to engage.

E.g. A software engineer will have good knowledge about laptop specification & hence he/she will understand it easily. While a simple shop-owner is more price conscious & an ad of a trusted celebrity like Amitabh Bachchan may convince him.


3: Environment

Ambient distractions discourage engagement.

E.g. An Ad. of a Laser Printer at a Dance Club will yield poor results. While sales of Coldplay Merch will get an advantage of the Club atmosphere.

To decide which route a marketer should follow, we have made a simple flow chart.


You need to define what is your objective for the campaign:


A. How motivated your target group is while making a purchase decision?

  • If your product for example is a vegan meat burger, then obviously your TG has very high motivation to know about your product.

  • Compare to the above example, suppose you are selling a low price plain T-shirt in Dmart or Target, your TGs aren't supposed to be so much motivated.


B. What is the level of involvement of your target group?

  • Products such as Oxymeter or Glucometer are serious in nature. You are encouraged to involve your customer in the quality of the product rather than using superficial ways to sell.

  • The same is the case while selling power tools such as a Drilling Machine or Cutter Machine.


C. Are you looking for a permanent change in your consumer attitude?

  • Brands such as Apple or Microsoft or Toyota endeavor to create a permanent mark on customers' attitudes towards the brand.

  • Attitude change lingers longer & helps in increasing the repeat purchase of the product.


Here are a few examples of ELM use:


  1. Aston Martin's clever ad uses a Peripheral Route.


2. Redbull using a Peripheral Route:


3. Apple's Iphone using a longer central route:


Written by: Gunjan Solanki


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