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.
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