Welcome to the age of influence and data manipulation. We always like to believe that when we are making a purchase, we are doing it with minimal influence. However, that is not always the case. Marketers have found a way to make people gravitate towards the middle option. Most people are turned off by extremes. Getting the middle option that’s “just right” takes a balance of the old and new and influencing users incrementally when launching products or services.  So what does the Goldilocks effect have to do with this?

Goldilocks is a very popular fairy tale character written in 1837. It’s about the visit of a young girl who stumbled upon a cottage in which there were three bears. The bears had left their porridge in the cottage and so she decided to try eat the porridge. She had to choose one since there were three bowls of porridge. The first one was too hot, while the second was too cold but the third one was perfect; neither too hot nor too cold.

The Goldilocks principle seeks to explain how the middle ground matters and how you can turn it into a pot of opportunities. It describes the practice of providing a premium as well as a budget option alongside a regularly priced product to make the latter seems more appealing. For the principle to work, you as a marketer and business owner need to find the balance; neither too simple nor complicated.

Is it so simple that it’s boring, overly familiar, or simply uninteresting?


Is it so unfamiliar as to seem random, intractable, obfuscated or even alien?


familiarity   . . .  novelty  . . .   surprise

stability   . . .    adaptability    . . .    flexibility

easy   . . .    ambitious   . . .    impossible

safety   . . .  opportunity   . . .    risk

order   . . .   meaning    . . .    chaos

The middle matters!


  • Avoid choice overload.

The main purpose of this strategy is to push people who usually buy the cheapest option into buying the more expensive option. Do not give customers too many options as they do not want to burn out making a simple purchasing decision. This is why most companies are most companies divide their prices into three units: A)Basic, Pro and Enterprise, B) Bronze, Silver and Gold, C)Small, medium and Large, D)Standard, Pro and Basic etc. Most customers usually think that the company is trying to prime them for the most expensive option while in reality its trying to push them into the middle option.

And why exactly is that? People make decisions based on two factors:

  • a more feature driven, knowledge based decision, or 
  • a fear of either spending too much for unnecessary features or not spending enough to get a product that will meet future needs.

And giving customers a chance to make a decision on their own makes them feel empowered since it’s in our nature to want to make and own our choices.

  • Choose the right content.

Research shows that over 80% of online shoppers conduct research before making a purchasing decision. Knowing which content to send to your prospective is very crucial. If you start sending sales messages too soon or too late then there is a high chance you might lose them. Finding the right content depending on where the customer is in your marketing funnel is essential. You want to win them over so do not overload them with technical terms. Find a way to butter them as it is easier to catch a fly with honey as compared to vinegar!

  • Set the right price.

Often at times, it is usually hard to come up with the right value for the products and services being offered especially when the business is new or seeking to expand. You can’t create a proper marketing plan if you do not have the right price to start with.

Just like Goldilocks, you need to ensure that your price is not so high that consumers turn to your competitors, and yet not so low that your products are viewed as low quality. Compare your prices against your competitors as well as the market value for products and services being offered.


Goldilocks avoided the porridge that was too hot or too cold and went for the middle choice that seemed just right. Knowing how to target and reach your customers is crucial for the sustainability of your business and the Goldilocks principle helps you make a marketing strategy based on purchase decision behaviors. After all at the of the day don’t we all want to win?

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