Fear Appeal and Market Segmentation

We have just now stated that, in some cases, big doses of fear are recommended, whereas, in others, the use of low levels of fear is the logical strategy. We have also given examples of an ad about dental health, where the degree of associated fear is high, and an ad about smoking and cancer, where the level of fear is low. Furthermore, apart from the differences in product categories, the age and personality differences in the target audience vary the effectiveness of each level of fear appeal. That is why it has been recommended that both the market segment and product category groupings should be taken into consideration before designing appropriate fear appeals.

It is important to note that although people generally prefer positive arguments, a fear appeal can make an advertisement stand out from others. For individuals whose aroused fear or anxiety about the product is low, and those who would not normally search for information about the product, the fear appeal can be particularly effective if these individuals have been previously exposed to positive arguments.

Razor Aggressive Youth Multi-sport Helmet (Satin Pink)It has been found that it is better to put fear first in the order of presentation, to threaten someone close to the prospect rather than the prospect himself. While advertising a helmet for scooter-riders, the fear of injury to the head is the most appealing to the wife and to someone close to the rider. The rider himself may not accept the idea promptly because of self-esteem and of ego consciousness. The appeal of intense fear might be best for people who tend to be of low-anxiety and high self-esteem people, who exhibit a copying behavior, and who find the product to be of low relevance. There are many who have a low vulnerability to fear and anxiety. For example, life insurance companies find that fear appeals work beautifully with those who feel that they do not need coverage for their lives.

Fear appeals are appropriate for breaking into new market segments. In fact, the susceptibility to fear appeals is one more approach to the market segmentation process. A careful analysis of those potential fear appeals, designed to arouse emotion in a group or audience, should be made a part of advertising strategy, wherein all ads addressed to this audience will incorporate such fear appeals. Thus, if appropriate fear appeals are defined, they become a useful tool in market segmentation.