Distractions are our biggest addiction.

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas.” – Steve Jobs

Focusing is not an option; it’s compulsory. Yet, focusing on success is much more rewarding than focusing on the potential for failure.

The biggest kick comes from always dancing at the edge of spam. Because we believe it is all about the numbers. The challenge, more noise is not better noise. It stays a distraction.

Bottom line: Focus feeds the creative process. 

A roadmap is one thing, the destination another.

Roadmap marketing may be for you when you are new in the game with a product or service under development. It is the process where you introduce your product vision to your ideal customers and get their early inputs. And, hopefully, on board a few. But beware, be open-minded because you may have the wrong map.

When you are on your way and shipped a few products to satisfied clients, they will start spreading the word. They may become seemingly, generous with their praise. And, the desire to be associated with those that can put you on the world stage may grow. However, chasing the influencers (and their social likes) may steer you in the wrong way.

Delivering on your promise is worth much more than the attention you get on the way. So focus on the smallest viable market, and forget about the masses for a moment.

Bottom line: Know where you want to go, but more importantly, use the right crowd and tools to get there.

What do my customers want?

This is definitely the wrong question.

You know you’ve done something right when people line up to get hold of your product. It may be due to hype, an emotional connection, or only a charismatic CEO.

Well, not all products can have an emotional connection. When was the last time you stepped onto an aircraft and got that intense feeling? So, therefore, they rely on loyalty programs. On the other hand, accumulating points may stimulate your ego.

When selling toothpaste, you need to appeal to the unconscious mind because this choice is made unconsciously.

Bottom line: If your product and service make a conscious statement about values or identity, habits may become an emotional connection. How I can connect with my customers is a much better approach.

Remember, consumers, think fast.

Buying the market-leading product is simply the easiest thing to do because it is there, right in front of you. It dominates the space. Every time you purchase this product, it becomes slightly harder to select the competition. Because your brain’s neural network becomes more efficient in identifying the stuff you like, it follows the law of least effort.

Of course, this is only true if the service and product fulfill their promise. Remember, the value proposition is still relevant. People must have a reason to buy your product. But the more you have a specific product experience over another, the cumulative advantage takes hold. And in the end, the customer choice is turned into a customer habit.

However, be mindful when you relaunch, repackage or replatform. You don’t want to disturb the habits that count in your favor. After all, you are applying a slow-thinking process to a fast-thinking environment. 

Of course, change is essential to stay relevant. In this case, take your customers by the hand when they need to make a transition. Do it cautiously. Maybe, just maybe, they will be impressed.

Bottom line: “Laziness is built deep into our nature.” and “Familiarity breeds liking.” ― Daniel Kahneman

The upside of disloyalty.

You don’t necessarily have loyal customers if you dominate a specific market segment. Instead, they buy your product because it is maybe cheap, recognizable, and easy to get. In other words, your marketing strengthens the habit of your customers to buy your products. However, if you look closely, you will notice that your customers may jump the ship quite often.

With a distinctive value proposition, a niche product usually only has a minuscule market share. One might expect that these customers are mostly repeat buyers and won’t bother with another product. Call them fanatics. However, that may only be true for a fraction of the time. The fact is, big brand disloyalty is just enough to keep the smaller ones in business. Customers know there’s always something better out there, and they need to try it now and then. 

We forget that, per definition, loyal customers refuse to buy another option although they understand that there’s always something more promising. It is the same with sport team supporters. So reward those that are loyal. Make them fanatics.

Bottom line: Customer disloyalty allows just enough customers to keep fringe brands in the business. When that happens, be ready to create a new habit.

Customer loyalty, beware of change.

Buying your favorite toothpaste is all about habit. You know the look, feeling, smell, taste, and the result. But, more importantly, you know where to find it on the shelf. It is available and accessible. So, as long as the toothpaste producer delivers on their promise, why change?

The goal is to make the buying experience effortless. The clever marketers see it as reducing the friction that may come in the way of the user. So, instead, enforce the habit.

Others believe that no competitive advantage is sustainable. It may be better to update your business model, strategy, and communication frequently. After all, you need to keep up with the ever-evolving environment to stay relevant. This assumption relies on the notion that customers make conscious and rational decisions based on available information. Well, Coke tried it once.

Maybe we are expecting too much of the brain. Research shows the brain love filling those gaps in incomplete pieces of information. We like making decisions because it feels right. The more you repeat a decision, the easier it becomes. 

Bottom line: If you want customers to return, focus on their habits. Never make a clear break with the past. Rather, concentrate on progression because the gap created may be too scary.