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Entice Consumers With Options

Freedom of choice motivates American consumers. Learn how to build a winning campaign by giving your customers the power to choose.

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This story appears in the September 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Every day, Americans are inundated with product and service choices. Just walk down any aisle in your supermarket, and you'll find that almost every product category is saturated. Yet we continue to crave--even thrive on--our freedom to choose, and smart marketers incorporate this component into the very essence of their campaigns.

Affluent customers often expect multiple choices. At BMWUSA.com, you can "build your own BMW" from the menu of enticing online options in exterior colors, seductive leather interiors, and accessories such as satellite radio. But wealthy consumers aren't the only ones captivated by the idea of choice. This marketing strategy has virtually universal appeal and is built into product offerings on every level. Wendy's, the third-largest quick-service hamburger chain in the world, has constructed its products and marketing messages to focus on giving fast-food customers a higher level of choice. Late last year, Wendy's took this concept to the max by giving consumers 40 different ways to create a "combo meal" according to their individual preferences.

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