What Is the Bandwagon Effect in Marketing?

Marketers sometimes get opinion leaders to endorse their products to promote sales.
Marketers sometimes get opinion leaders to endorse their products to promote sales. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Businesses adopt various strategies to sell their products. They need to price the products right and make them available at the right place and to the right audience, as well as promote them adequately. Businesses often use a marketing strategy called the bandwagon effect to make their products more appealing to customers.

Bandwagon Effect

The bandwagon effect refers to people doing certain things because other people are doing them. For instance, once a product becomes popular, more people tend to "get on the bandwagon" and buy it, too. If people see many of their friends wearing a particular shirt, they could become more interested in buying that shirt. Likewise, as a politician gains support, undecided voters may go with the herd and vote for him as well.

Green Bandwagon

One example of the bandwagon effect is the growth of the green movement. In the late 1980s, a series of events led to growing popularity for the green movement. Natural disasters such as flooding and famine brought focus to bear on Earth-friendly practices. The Green Party won a substantial number of votes in the 1989 United Kingdom elections. All this led some marketers to get on the green bandwagon. They declared their products to be green in order to appeal to consumers.

IT Marketing

Another example of the bandwagon effect is in the information technology sector. Corporate IT departments, instead of putting in systems that best meet their needs, tend to go for "best of class" vendors. This way, in case of a cyber-attack or other negative experience, administrators can deflect any assertion that they failed to put in place adequate IT safeguards. To take advantage of this bandwagon effect, IT vendors may choose to position themselves as “best of class.”

Opinion Leaders

Marketers can achieve greater sales by getting opinion leaders, whom others want to follow, to endorse their products. By establishing the popularity of their product, marketers can get more people interested in it as a bandwagon effect develops. For instance, GreenLight, a global media consultant, reports that 24 percent of the television advertising during the 2011 Academy Awards program involved celebrity endorsements. For one, a Hyundai advertisement during the program used the voice of Jeff Bridges, who won an Oscar in 2010.

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