The thing that usually stands between us and what we want in life is resistance– the uneasiness that comes with stepping outside of our comfort zones; the influence of our fears and limiting beliefs; or the pull of our habits and natural tendencies.
As human beings, we are wired to resist uncertainty, difficulty, or complexity, which is why many of us fall short of reaching our full potential. We have a bias for comfort, ease, and convenience and the best marketers in the world know this about us. Some use it against us, while others use it to help us.
At grio, we often remind our clients that customers are also seeking to make a profit. In fact, the only reason people ever buy anything is because it’s worth more to them than what it costs them. We also remind clients that buying doesn’t just cost people money. It also costs them time and energy– physical, mental and emotional.
When it comes to growing their sales and revenues, what usually stands in the way of our clients is the resistance their customers are experiencing, in the form of non-monetary costs such as complexity, uncertainty or inconvenience. Our job is to help them find the path of least resistance.
Here are five things we often consider when guiding them through that process.
- Cognitive Ease
Great design, good choice architecture, focus and simplicity are ways you can create cognitive ease. When something is easy for us to process, we tend to trust it more. It means, for example, using legible or bigger fonts. It means using simple, familiar words. It means doing everything in our power to make it easy for people to understand us and the value we seek to add in their lives.
- Mental Availability
People usually buy the brands they recall at the moment of the purchase. So it’s important for us to build mental availability by being remarkable, compelling or memorable. Brand assets like logos, taglines, and colors are great mnemonic devices. Commercials with great stories or catchy jingles are also very effective ways to build memory. But, of course, nothing beats repetition.
- Physical Availability
The more accessible your product is, the more opportunities people have to buy it and the more convenient it is to buy. If the only store that sells local, organic produce is 20 miles away, then I am likely to go to the closest Walmart even if I want to eat healthier and buy local. Big brands dominate smaller ones for multiple reasons, not least of which is the fact that they are simply easier to buy.
- User-Friendly Experience
The more friction there is in the experience we offer customers, the less likely people are to complete the transaction. It’s true for physical and digital experiences. The best e-commerce platforms, like Amazon, have mastered this art with simple navigation, an easy checkout and a convenient return process.
Nudging is making it easier for people to choose a specific option without limiting or significantly impeding on their ability to make other choices. Defaults, like the tip options available at checkout in most coffee shops are among some of the most powerful nudges. Of course you have the choice to ignore the default options and leave a custom tip but most people never bother.
Ultimately, empathy-led marketing requires that we understand how people think, behave and make decisions. Some marketers use this kind of insight to “trick” customers. But for the rest of us, creating the path of least resistance is an act of generosity. So we continually flex our empathy muscles to deepen our understanding of human nature in an effort to best serve our customers. To achieve success, in life or in business, we could either fight against the resistance or find the path of least resistance.