Have you ever driven somewhere, gotten there, and forgot about the last minutes of the drive? You know that you were driving. But your mind must have been somewhere else, since you can’t really remember the turns you made, the lights you stopped at, etc.
But, I’ll bet that never happens to you when you’re lost. When lost, your brain is working overtime to figure out what to do next.
When I recently interviewed Dr. Neale Martin, he explained that the difference in the two situations has to do with which part of your brain you were mostly using. When going on a routine drive, perhaps from home to work or vice-versa, you primarily use your subconscious or habitual mind. But when you are lost, or on the phone while driving, you primarily use your conscious or executive mind.
Importantly, as Dr. Martin lays out in his book Habit: The 95% of Behavior Marketers Ignore, your subconscious or habitual mind controls the vast majority of human behavior.
For example, when you reach for a carton of milk from the supermarket, do you really think that much about it? Do you compare the different brands of milk and think “maybe today I’ll try something new?” Or do you simply pick the same carton of milk you chose last time, and the time before, and the time before. Most of us do the latter.
Understanding these habits is critical to entrepreneurs who want to effectively market their products and services. For instance, once you sell a product or service, you should focus on ways to get the customer to buy again and again from you. According to Dr. Martin, once they buy seven times from you, buying from you becomes habit.
And so they buy again, and again and again. Until you do something like raise your prices or interrupt their service, which causes their executive mind to kick in and consider alternatives.
Likewise, when marketing a new product, you must leverage consumer behavior marketing techniques. Specifically, you need to make sure that your new product jives with people’s habits. For example, if people are used to doing something one way, asking them to do it another way, even if that way is better, is oftentimes difficult. Entrepreneurs must make adopting their products and services as easy as possible and ensure that they don’t contrast sharply to consumers’ habits.
So, the next time you are driving and forget where you are or what you are doing, know that you don’t have a Swiss cheese brain. Rather, you are so used to what you are doing that you’re relying on your habitual mind. And remember, as a marketer, you must realize that your customers are also frequently using their habitual minds when making buying decisions. So, figure out ways to make buying your company’s products and services their habit.
Dr. Martin made tons of great additional points that entrepreneurs can use immediately to become more effective marketers. Specifically, Dr. Martin revealed some great marketing insight and ideas including:
- The key link between emotions and decision-making, and how to leverage this
- How to dislodge customer habits
- The reason why Word of Mouth marketing is so successful
- The importance of getting feedback and the best place to get it