Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Make It Hard.

A few weeks back I read Fred Wilson's plea for a single text message to allow him to upload an image to a variety of applications. It's an entirely logical request and will no doubt come to pass. Simplifying life is a good thing, but is it that simple?

The easier we make something, the more people will do it. That's good in one sense, but potentially overloading in another as the current social networking backlash is suggesting. Does simplification at some point denude our perception of worth?
Is that what's behind reports that online sales are plateauing because people value the experience of shopping when it comes to purchasing certain non staple items?

The secret of exclusive distribution, scarcity and waiting lists is the non-monetary investment required of customers, so perhaps you should consider not making it too easy for them. Make the acquisition process flow smoothly for sure but don't remove all the effort involved because while inefficiency and incompetence will turn them off, being too easy won't turn them on.


Anonymous charlie gower said...

Interesting point John, but surely some things benefit hugely from being easier, just as some benefit from being harder. Some brands obviously want to maintain an elite usership so put they products in back street boutiques known by the right people - thereby maintaining their brand image.
While some products are ideally bought / consumed without any purchase process at all. I'm thinking about say, my Oyster card where I don't want to have to buy it at all, and by using their online system I never do. It's all done behind the curtain.
I feel like this about much of my household goods purchasing in fact. If it's not something I enjoy shopping for, I don't want to have to shop for it. I think sadly there is not one answer but many.

5:03 AM, July 10, 2007  
Blogger john dodds said...

Agreed Charlie.I see three rough categories off the top of my head.

People are still happy to buy staple items online because there's no pleasure in the purchase of commodities and that equates to your Oyster card.

For non-commodities, there is an established pratice of making purchase harder (or special).

The third category might involve products which you're trying to decommodify. Trade off added extras against greater effort on the part of your users and here you may start to move towards a justifiable premium.

9:48 AM, July 10, 2007  

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