The problem with most problems is that they appear to be solvable by the use of common sense. This is not always, or even generally, correct.
We should not be worried whether something ‘stands to reason’ so much as whether there is evidence available to show if a contention is true. It stands to reason that you need to change attitudes to change behaviour but this is not so. Take busking for instance.
You will see a street musician salt their collecting hat or bag when they set themselves up for the day. Shiny coins of a denomination that they hope will encourage passers by to conform. In this they show a certain degree of knowledge about the behaviour of people: they will copy the behaviour of their peers.
The performance does not have to be particularly brilliant. All that is needed is for a person walking by to assume that others have contributed. They will be encouraged to follow suit. If they see someone contribute this will increase the need for them to toss a few coins.
A more sophisticated method is one used by those performing the ‘three card trick’, trick being the operative word. These visionaries with regards group dynamics will wait until a crowd gathers and then a co-conspirator, later to be used as a look-out, will push to the front and then place a bid, of a domination that they consider the group might copy.
Whilst this person will always win, this is not what encourages others to take part. It is merely the behaviour of the person in playing the game. It encourages participation.
Jeni Cross, sociology professor at Colorado State University, gives evidence of this on one of the TedTalks series, available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5d8GW6GdR0
Assuming you are not going to sell your items on the street but via an email marketing campaign, you might think there is little you could learn from this, but you would be wrong.
In the talk, Jeni refers to an advertising campaign which used two posters, one showing negative aspects of littering, the other having a recognisable face depositing litter in a waste bin. The latter had a superior success rate in changing behaviour.
When planning your next email marketing campaign, concentrate on changing behaviour rather than minds. Appeal to the segment of your email marketing list you are using for your experiment not by explaining but demonstrating that other people are doing what you want them to do. If they conform they will be happy.
If you are selling attendance at a symposium, then show pictures of people just like them at the previous one. Mention that they came from companies just like theirs.
What you want to do is show them that 75% of their group are in on the act. Attitudes follow behaviour. They do not predict it.
Still got your doubts? The next time you see a busker or a Salvation Army band, throw some money into the music case when there is a crowd around. It is like a switch. For me, it was £2 well spent. After all, it is not common sense, so must be right.