Hofects Marketing | Guide Your Customers Through Their FOMO

The paradox of choice, marketing. consumer marketing, product marketing

At first, it may seem like a benefit to be able to offer a whole lot of choices to your customers. Whether its choice of products, product bundles, colors,┬ásizes, or pricing options, more is better, right? You offer so many choices, it sets you apart from your competitors. Your customers can pick exactly what they want because you offer so many. That’s how the thinking goes, right?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way at all — a fact which we often forget in our “more is better” world.

Here’s why. There’s a concept called the “paradox of choice”, which was identified and studied by lots of psychologists in recent years. What they’ve found is that having too much to choose from actually creates high levels of stress and anxiety, especially if the choices represent high-value purchases or outcomes. It turns out there’s a point at which too much choice causes paralysis (and hence indecision) at the thought that we might choose poorly. You may have heard this described as FOMO (fear of missing out). We’ve all been there, right?

Americans make 70 different choices every day. Talk about overload! Is it any wonder we can be indecisive?

Therefore, when you’re creating marketing messages for your products and services, think about the fact that someone’s purchase decision around your product might be #68 for that day. You can see why, at that point, they just want you to tell them what to buy!

So, guide them. Curate the information for maximum relevance.

  • Think hard about whether or not your marketing message should lead with the fact that your product comes in 50+ variations. Maybe that’s not actually a good thing.
  • If your product can be easily customized to reduce choices by say, asking a few questions; or it comes with a “default” setting; or additional choices can come at different stages of the purchase, then promote that in your messaging. Consumers will feel relieved that you’re helping them make a choice.
  • (And if your product doesn’t come with the above, consider changing it so that it does).
  • When offering pricing packages, for example on online subscription services, default to the medium option, rather than the highest or lowest priced.
  • And finally (my own pet peeve), cut down on your CTAs! Whether it’s an email, blog post, or web page, don’t cram it full of multiple calls to action. Pick one primary and make it prominent. If you need to have secondary CTAs, make them less prominent so that there’s a clear hierarchy of choice.


>> Trying to find the balance between too much and too little in your marketing messages? I can help you negotiate that fine line. Give me a shout.

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Interested in reading the scholarly evidence behind the paradox of choice? (I’ll admit, it’s a fascinating view into human behavior!) Start here:

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