When trying to understand how people make decisions you have to discover a couple of things.
- What do they know about your product and market? (awareness)
- How much do they know? (sophistication)
- How willing and able are they to buy? (intent)
But there’s one often underrated factor at play.
Without considering it, you risk missing the mark entirely in in your messaging and branding.
Earl Nightingale said that there are only two ways of doing things: goal achieving or tension relieving.
Think about it, everything you do in life is because you’re either moving towards a goal (you want something) or you’re trying to relieve some kind of tension (you don’t want something).
I love it, it’s such a simple mental model.
Even going waaaay back to the practice of meditation. In Vipassana, the type of meditation I practice, they teach you how the causes of “suffering” in life are either cravings or aversions.
You either want something so badly it hurts or don’t want it and run away from it.
We could even say that human behavior is dictated by our attachments (yes, even aversion, or not wanting something to happen is a form of attachment = you’re attached to the way it is without that thing).
The way most businesses go wrong about this is that they fail to understand the “direction” their audience is heading towards.
Talk too much about reaching a goal to someone who’s running away from something negative, and your message won’t resonate.
Lean heavily on copy that points out pain points to someone who wants to get a positive outcome, and you won’t reach them as effectively.
How do you find out?
By asking questions to the right people (your customers) at the right time (right after purchase).
Something I always do for every client project.
Hell, it’s also a great question to ask yourself anytime you’re making a decision: are you goal achieving or tension relieving?
Is one better than the other?
Topic for another email.