May 26, 2009

The Most Powerful Force In Marketing

Think of all the amazing new products that have been introduced in the past few years.

In the digital realm alone, there have been thousands of them. Every day I stumble on new offerings on the web that I had no idea existed, and that amaze me with their utility and creativity.

The startling fact, however, is how few of them become successful businesses.

The reason so many new products and new ideas do not succeed is a function of human psychology -- the reluctance of consumers to do something new and different.

Most companies either don't understand this or choose to ignore it.

Marketers always overestimate the attractiveness of new things and always underestimate the power of traditional consumer behavior.

I have been involved in the development of many new products and a lot of advertising campaigns for new products. Almost every new product I've been associated with has been either a reasonably good idea or an improvement on what went before. But most weren't compelling enough to overcome consumer attachment to doing what they always do.

One of the biggest mistakes a marketer can make is taking too seriously what consumers say about a product in the development stage. When consumers are exposed to it, they will tell you it's a good idea. But what they can never tell you is whether it's a good enough idea to eclipse the inertia of their habits.

The most powerful force in marketing is not price, quality, distribution, advertising, or branding -- it's the resistance to change.

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