We are hard-wired to choose what at first feels like the easiest option. Today, we are consumed by a plethora of choices with convenience continually rising to the forefront in a customer’s mind. We are inherently apathetic and this defining, human characteristic is magnified in our decision-making.
Yet, decision-making is pivotal to investing in a product or service. It is these decisions - insights or metrics - that Digital Marketers are always on the lookout for, to understand what is being searched for, talked about or engaged with online. Helping to answer powerful questions like how to win market share against your competition or stand out from the crowd.
For the innovation sector, decision-making and conversion are more complex. The series of decisions might now feel like a minefield of confusing new technologies that your audience doesn’t have the time to - or doesn’t want to - understand. Your challenge is to shift customer perspectives and offer a human-centric path of least resistance for your prospects to traverse.
If we want a competitive advantage we must focus on simplicity. Place your customer at the centre and create their path of least resistance.
What is the Path of Least Resistance?
The path of least resistance is providing rational, honest USPs that offer the least obstacles for your prospects. This path should champion all others and cater to the needs of the potential customer, by manufacturing the easiest customer experience possible.
Here’s an example:
In snowboarding or skiing, is the path of least resistance the fall line or the relaxed blue run back into the resort? Technically, the fall line or the straightest route down the mountain is the path of least resistance. But, what if you had children with you, a bad knee or a heavy pack? When you add these factors, which then becomes the more holistic or human path of least resistance?
This is important because we are hard-wired to accept what, at first, seems like the easy option. Take, for instance, fossil-fueled cars and homes built without solar or heavily plastic debit and credit cards - these are the easy option for us, the norm in most of our societies.
However, when you include additional factors - like the snowboarding analogy - such as wildfires, climate change, soaring energy bills and plastic waste, a wider context emerges. Now we ask ourselves, are these still the path of least resistance? Probably not.
Short-term decision-making tends to lead us down those easy routes. Bad short-term decisions can make it harder to achieve long-term success. This can result in excellent innovations being overlooked, ignored and even ridiculed - likely because they have not been presented correctly.
Let’s look at this more closely.
Without fully understanding the wider benefits and opportunities, a French General and Allied Commander during WW1, said, “Aeroplanes are interesting scientific toys, but they are of no military value.”
Who knew Microsoft invented the tablet a decade before Apple launched the iPad? Microsoft’s tablet clearly did not grab the attention of the market - nowhere near the veracity of the iPad phenomenon. Did they present their idea in the right way?
In 1977, Ken Olson - Founder of computer company, Digital Equipment Corp - said, ”There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home” though in 2012 nearly 80% of American households owned a computer. He didn’t understand the wider challenges his customers were facing and missed opportunities in the market.
To provoke your thinking, become the path of least resistance. Take a ‘human-centric’ approach to engage deeper thinking and guide customers to step away from short-term decision-making. Quantify what those bigger challenges are to help your audience understand the real path of least resistance.
Let’s dive into more detail:
Human-centric culture Create a human-centric approach, not just in your marketing efforts, but within your company culture and customer experience. Place humans at the centre of your marketing campaign. Understanding their perspective, language, values, beliefs, goals, needs and challenges and tailoring your marketing accordingly.
Customer’s wider challenges Let’s get to the crux of what those wider, long-term challenges might be. Why do they need to be thinking differently? Engage your audience by understanding their challenges and help to guide them through it. Be an anchor for your customers.
Trusted guide Become a trusted, empathetic guide. Think about what might make them feel apprehensive to engage with your innovation and provide support. Offer a concrete plan and help them to adopt new ways of thinking. There are lots of new innovations and technologies out there, why should they trust you?
I’ll leave you with a thought-provoking question: Why do some technologies and challenges take longer to adopt than others?
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We believe to achieve a sustainable human society and environmental sustainability, we need to keep innovating… innovating for good. As an innovation digital marketing agency - we aim to help our clients connect, engage and guide their customers towards a better future for all.
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