We are all Creatures of Habit

Courtesy of cartoonstock.com

There is an age-old saying that you cannot make a leopard change its spots. Or teach an old dog new tricks.

Habits, especially deeply ingrained ones, die hard. Sometimes, they can be so addictive that they not only fail to perish, but linger on. Day after day. Week after week. Year after year.

In any successful marketing strategy, one mustn't only study consumer behaviours, attributes and profiles, but understand what they are addicted to and why. The marketer who is able to worm himself or herself into the customer's subconcious behaviours - the one's that are generated by the autonomic nervous system - wins the game.

Here's how:

First, look deeply inside and find the child within you. Coax that kid to come forth and observe his or her candid, frank and unabashed opinion of what rocks and what sucks. Habits usually form when one is young and it is best to look at consumption behaviours from a child's eye.

If you can't picture yourself being the target customer of your own product or service, get a close family member and friend who is. Take a peek at how they pass their days, and what their unsolicited reactions are to the various products and services that they encounter.

Next, be observant for clear patterns around your neighbourhood. I find that certain behavioural trends are as consistent as clockwork - the same uncle will come down to go for a walk at a certain time each day or the same little boy will kick his ball around in the basketball court at four pm.

Finally, think about how you can adapt your value propositions to suit those habits. As Stephen Covey has said, "Begin with the End in Mind". If your goal is to serve the purposes of your customers, examine what their idiosyncrasies are and adapt your product offering to those patterns.

In the age of information overload with a multiplicity of choices, consumers are looking for convenience and ease of transaction in a way that suits their lifestyles. If you wish to disrupt those patterns, you must be 100% sure that your product or service is remarkable. Otherwise, it may be better to capture the ebb and flow of one's customer habits.

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