You Don’t Want To Choose

Marketing

by Kenny Hyder

Red Pill or Blue PillLet’s face it: you don’t like to make deci­sions. It’s ok, I don’t either. The pro­blem is ever­yone in the world thinks we do! We are cons­tantly bom­bar­ded with choi­ces, options, and deci­sions to make about everything we do and everything we buy, but are these choi­ces what we really want or need?

Case #1

supermarket

You’re at the gro­cery store buying some soup because you’re sick :( You go to the soup aisle to decide which type of soup suits your palette. After five minu­tes pass, you rea­lize that you’re sta­ring aim­lessly at all of the choi­ces! There are hun­dreds of soups! You decide on clam chow­der because it’s your favo­rite, but there are 3 dif­fe­rent varia­tions from each of the 4 dif­fe­rent brands. You end up grab­bing the one that you decide has the pret­tiest label because, how else are you to decide? You also grab some chic­ken noodle just for good measure.

In this case, it’s great to have a variety of choice for those with dif­fe­rent appe­ti­tes, but anyone who has been to the gro­cery store (espe­cially if you’re not a regu­lar shop­per) can iden­tify with stan­ding in the aisle, gazing off into never-never land at all of the count­less choi­ces for any num­ber of dif­fe­rent products.

Case #2

Des­pite the reces­sion, life has been good to you and you decide its time to get your­self a new whip. You have your sight set on something sporty, so you decide to check out the new Bugatti Vey­ron, the $1.7m price tag is merely a drop in the buc­ket for a baller like you.

bugatti

As you con­fi­gure your Bugatti on the web­site before hea­ding over to the dea­ler, you rea­lize you have a whop­ping 29 color com­bi­na­tions to choose from! How on earth will you ever decide which one is per­fect for you? Do you like the white on soft sil­ver, or the white sil­ver on grey sil­ver bet­ter? Camera one, camera two. CHOOSE NOW!

I don’t know about all of you, but I’ve bought 3 new cars in my adult life — 2 of them there was one color avai­la­ble on the lot, and 1 of them I chose bet­ween 2 colors. My car right now is grey, because that’s what they had, and I like it. Simple.

Et cetera

How many more sce­na­rios like this are there? What are we going to eat for din­ner, what movie do you want to watch, what kind of cell plan to get, where do you invest your money, and on forever.

Psycho­lo­gist Barry Sch­wartz said: “If everything is pos­si­ble, you don’t have free­dom —  you have paraly­sis.” This sta­te­ment brings a whole new mea­ning to the cliché “Less is more.”

When choice is given to the indi­vi­dual at infi­nite detail, it crea­tes chaos. As mar­ke­ters it is our job to look for ways to expand our mar­kets and often this results in more options, more choice, and ulti­ma­tely more deci­sions for the end user. The pro­blem is, when we leave deci­sion in the hands of the cus­to­mer, we take it out of the hands of the expert.

When Nike launched their “NIKEiD” cam­paign that allo­wed buyers to design and purchase their own cus­tom shoe, it got major atten­tion. I per­so­nally know seve­ral peo­ple that jum­ped on the oppor­tu­nity to design their very own shoes right away. As a result of this cam­paign, I have seen some of the ugliest shoes EVER to come from a major shoe brand. What was pre­viously hand­led by a pro­fes­sio­nal, the design, is now a series of options and choi­ces for the untrai­ned con­su­mer; and the result is poten­tially catastrophic.

Less Really IS More

Like it or not, all clichés are cliché for a rea­son. There is something power­ful about sim­pli­city. It’s why all Apple com­pu­ters are sil­ver and all iPods are either black or white. It’s why gas sta­tions offer 87, 89, and 91 octane gaso­line. It’s why 70% of users in the US pre­fer Goo­gle to other search engines.

Sim­pli­city, and remo­ving extra­neous choice strengthens the offer of any pro­duct and/or ser­vice by put­ting the focus on what’s really impor­tant. Most peo­ple think they want all of the choice to them­sel­ves; but when it comes down to it, they find it much easier to choose bet­ween clam chow­der or chic­ken noodle, than having to sift through a hun­dred dif­fe­rent soups.

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