My unique approach to marketing

July 4, 2011 |  by  |  Featured, Marketing - Gen'l
  • SumoMe

My approach to marketing is different.

Conventional marketing focuses on persuasion: to make the case better that yours is the more desirable product. That’s good. But there’s a better way.

My approach is to remove or reduce all decision obstacles. Only sometimes does this involve tuning up the persuasion. Usually, this involves eliminating the many ways that you have inadvertently made it difficult to understand, buy or talk about your product.

This is a fundamentally different approach to marketing.

I call it Decision Easification —- because there’s no word on English for “to make things easier.” “Facilitation” doesn’t quite do it.

Let me explain:


The customer goes through several stages on the decision path. Think of them as hills to climb:

Status quo → finding you → learning about you → culling → weighing → sorting → evaluating → comparing alternatives → justifying trial →trying → buying → using → fixing → teaching → recommending → evangelizing.


On each of these hills, there are many obstacles:

Questions, qualms, issues, confusions, uncertainty, misunderstandings, distractions, competitor counter-information, effort, time wasters, information overload, distrust and many other stumbling blocks.

So, they (1) stumble enough, (2) turn around and go home or (3) find another product that’s easier to fathom.

It’s at these hidden obstacles that you are losing most of your potential customers.

They’re mostly hidden to you because you are an expert who doesn’t see how difficult it is to get past these obstacles. You see it as a smooth path, they see it as a bumpy, rough and uphill obstacle course.

Example: Take the switch from Windows to Mac. For years,  Apple didn’t get how hard the switch is. Yes, OS X is a simpler, more intuitive way of doing things. But while it’s simpler and easier, it’s different. So, at every difference point, learning or thinking has to happen. That slows people down, disorients them, breaks their flow, and makes them feel frustrated or stupid. Every Windows user knows they will have to go through this, so it’s a gigantic bump on the decision road, up the Culling, Trial and Learning hills. While Apple has made tremendous strides in easing the transition, they are still not there yet. They should have a Windows Transition Mode on their OS and their programs, and run Windows natively on OS X. The point is that Apple can be persuasive and convince people they have an easy-to-use operating system: but they haven’t eased the anticipated and actual transition enough. So, the hidden obstacle is: anticipated transition difficulty. Ease that and sales will multiply.

Your job is to find these friction points and get people past them. In age of overloaded customers, you have to do it — not by glitzy, razzle-dazzle marketing — but by making every step and stage of the decision process easier.

If you would like to learn more about getting a one-on-one consultation with me, click here.

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  1. Yet Apple did exactly that (remove the friction) with the smartphone (iphone).

    They took what had previously been an expensive toy of execu-geeks and made it easy and attractive for everybody. Hey presto, overnight success (sort of).

    They did the same with mp3 players (ipod) and tablets (ipad). So it’s not that they can’t do it, or don’t know how to do it, but there’s something else going on.

    • Exactly. What is going on is expert blindness The other categories were all brand new categories for Apple, sui generis. They weren’t held back by knowledge/expert blindness. With the ipod, it wasn’t an mp3 player, it was iTunes, a new way to acquire, manage, store, search, retrieve and listen to music, which was a total mess at the time. Remember records, tapes, cassettes, CDs, DVDs? All piled in the trunk of your car? With the IPhone, it was a total re-think of the phone. There are still legions of people for whom the switch to an iPhone, iPod, iPad (even a Kindle) is perceived as difficult.
      The Mac is a similar departure into ease and simplicity. But the switch is an under-appreciated set friction points for the folks at Apple. Apple is still having trouble getting people past them.
      The Mac/Windows disparity remains the biggest word-of-mouth disparity (WOM one way, sales the other way) in the world. It’s getting smaller. It has to, as long as the vast differences remain.
      All of this, I think, illustrates the fact that the most leverage in marketing comes from removing the barriers (friction points). Apple does a lot of that by building it into the product. It’s called design.

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