Habits are like air. We don’t notice them but we are surrounded by them all the time. If one wants to get to the basics of human behavior and why they act in a certain way, just notice the habits. Charles Duhigg is being very smart when he writes the book –The Power of Habit. This book is a very powerful read for everyone and we believe that it is an exceptional book to provoke Marketing think tanks into careful long-term actions.
Most marketers today get into the traditional drama of creating a sales funnel. We call it drama for those who cannot define their sales funnel in terms of consumer habits but are bluntly following the trends in the hope that it will work. It can work once or twice. But not every time. It is imperative to understand why your customers or your client’s customers do, what they do. Let us discuss the 5 biggest lessons that this book has given us.
For your better understanding, ‘cue’ is any stimulus that triggers you to action. ‘Routine’ is the action one performs post the cue exposure. ‘Reward’ is the outcome that satisfies you and makes you believe that it is a good habit.
The habit loop for targeting the customer
Every business in the world is based on consumer habits. From buying a Coca Cola to the latest i-phone, people are subtly giving in to the habits that have been created by the brands. Social media has created a habit that people are expressing their feelings on the internet rather than calling a friend.
How did this happen?
The book tells you that every human being is a product of his daily habits. To draw attention to the consumer market, some of the easiest habits are like the attention given to the sales & discount by any brand. The consumer gets attracted and retains it for some time. The smartest brands play it deep and big.
For example – when it shows ‘typing’ on your friend’s profile in a chatting messenger like Whatsapp. It is no coincidence. The developers understood the cue. When you see that ‘typing’ sign, you are craving for the text. You increase your screen time and app time while waiting for that message and replying instantly. They could have simply given you a notification, but no, see how they have formed a habit-loop into the human species.
The biggest cues that trigger customer attention
Here is a list of cues that you can focus on more sales.
· The location – of customer remembers you service.
· The time – when the customer actually craves your service.
· The emotional state – when the customer finds you.
· The other people that remind the customer of your work.
· The actions that precede the actual sales decision by the customer.
They might seem generic from a regular sales perspective, but open a whole new dimension from a habits perspective. Just think about, how the triggers can be molded by you, such that you draw more customers more often.
Targeting the customer’s keystone habits
Keystone habits are habits that have a ripple effect of making new habits. In your personal life, it can be like, getting up early or exercising. When it comes to marketing, you think about that one product that people will come for and buy your other products as well.
Duhigg gives an example of the marketing success of a supermarket company Target. They knew, like every other supermarket, for which new parents are the biggest assets. They made an actual algorithm in computers that could predict future parents. Their formula was simple, if you provide good sales coupons to the pregnant parents, and start a new habit loop, they shop at your market till the baby is at least 5 years old. The same happens with other purchases as well.
Finding your prime customers based on their keystone habits is the key to create long-term customers. This formula is not only successful in the B2C market but also in the B2B. You must know which ball to push and how it keeps the money rolling.
The belief system of the customer
Habits have the power to decide, even if they do so subconsciously. The best marketers in the world know that customer retention happens when you focus on the subconscious brain. The elements that you choose to display your propositions must match with the subconscious cues that the customer is either looking for or is surprised by.
Brands like Nike and Coca Cola have done wonders in finding that soft spot where they can make people believe that their daily habits coincide with their brands. The habit of finding happiness, the habit of impressing people. They have penetrated so deep that anybody who questions the customers that this habit is bad, they get fired up.
Before going nuts into the market with loads of ads, you must know which habits you must choose to slowly become a part of their belief system. It must become a culture of your overall marketing strategies so as the new and old employees understand the importance of the smallest rituals that you are trying to bring in.
Habits build a trustworthy brand
Yes, external communication and marketing are very important; but building a brand is a very organic art. The best minds that have sustained their business is the name they have created for themselves. This name is carried by the best marketing known to man – word of mouth.
Habits play the biggest role in building an organization. An organization that focuses on habits that maximize customer safety, build confident executives. Starbucks, one of the biggest coffee chains has a comprehensive training program that teaches staff to remember names. Such a small thing, with such a great impact. People love their actual names written on their takeaway cups. They feel that they are cared about.
Never ever think that you are too small to implement these ideas. Even if you just started and have a single customer only, everything that is written above and in the book is applicable, just mold it your own way.
· Read this amazing book today – The power of Habit. You’ll gain a whole new perspective.
· Find the habit loop of your target audience and focus to change it to your advantage.
· Locate the ideal cues and target to be a part of trends. Your success is when you start a new trend. Trends are nothing but temporarily modified habit loops.
· Search the keystone habits that are subtle but impactful in the client’s decision making. They are not apparent easily, you’ll have to look deeper.
· People believe and promote brands with good habits towards service.