Conservatism Cognitive Bias – Why We Fear Change
- Why do we stick stubbornly with old ideas?
- Why do 9 out 10 new products fail?
While establishing long-held reputations for brands can maintain sales figures, it can also backfire. Chrysler Corporation once had multiple brands, including Plymouth and Desoto. Each make had a loyal following. Over time, though, first Desoto and then Plymouth became associated with older drivers.
Despite efforts to update those brands to attract a younger demographic, that association kept new owners from buying them. Now, both are long gone.
Established Brands Rely on the Conservatism Bias
Every year, 9 out of 10 new products fail. Consumers love and hate new things at the same time. They are attracted to novelty, but at the same time, they prefer something they are familiar with. For example, shopping for a new car is a major decision. A bewildering variety of makes, models, and dealers is available. Oddly enough, people tend to buy the same brand of car repeatedly. Sometimes several generations in a family have always bought cars by Ford or Chevrolet.
While that’s a good thing for established automakers, it makes it tough for new brands to compete. Overcoming people’s tendency to stick with past choices can be an almost insurmountable problem.
Overcoming Conservatism Bias to Sell More
How can Neuromarketing present new information to replace old habits? Neuroscience research shows that people have deeply-embedded beliefs. The brain relies on these beliefs when making decisions. When a new situation arises that requires a decision, our fast-thinking intuitive brain defaults to comparing it to similar past decisions. However, that same tendency toward conservatism also keep us from taking advantage of new opportunities.
- Turning Something Old to Something New – Consumers love novelty, but only to a degree. Throughout history, many new, innovative products and services had the right balance between being new and being familiar. For example, the iPod was similar to an old music player, but it changed the way people bought music. Uber took off quickly because it is very similar to the traditional taxi service. Recognizing consumers’ cautious love of novelty can help you avoid marketing disasters.Apple Newton was the original PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) product. It had some similarities to today’s tablet computers. However, it was a completely new product. People were very reluctant to adopt this highly innovative product. Its high price barrier made that adoption even more sluggish. Palm Pilot became widely adapted because it resembled a pocket calendar and address book. It had fewer features than Newton, but was easy to carry and use.
- New Brands and Products Can Appeal to New Audiences – South Korean automakers Hyundai and KIA faced huge challenges in entering the US auto market. Up against established companies, they had to attract customers with established brand preferences.By offering models at much lower price points, with more included features, and with warranties up to 10 years or 100,000 miles, they were able to overcome conservatism biases and begin growing their sales. Innovative designs and good reliability added to their success over time.
- Selling Established Brands Can Ensure Success – Many businesses feature products that have long-established reputations and brand loyalty. Their success demonstrates the power of the conservatism bias. In any big box retail store, you will see the brands you are familiar with. Many home service companies only sell select name-brand products that customers are familiar with.However, competition can be fierce when everyone is selling the products from the same brands. By offering superior customer service, competitive pricing, and outstanding marketing, small businesses can compete successfully in most market areas.
- Overcoming Conservatism Biases Is an Option – Where many businesses feature the most popular brands, offering secondary brands or new brands is an attractive alternative. As KIA and Hyundai demonstrated, success depends on comparing those brands to established ones in specific areas. Price, better warranties, fresh design concepts and other features can lure people away from the leaders. To succeed, focus on what makes your products and services stand apart from long-established offerings.Targeting potential customers who aren’t the focus of competitors is also effective.
- Aim Marketing Efforts at Non-Conformists – In every product or service category, most businesses rely on marketing to the largest groups of potential clients and customers. However, there are plenty of people who take pride in not following the leader. Focus on a new, untapped group of consumers.Use Neuromarketing to create better experiences and promote non-conformity. Younger consumers and underserved groups are attractive targets.
- Offer a Wide Range of Choices to More People – For many businesses, it’s possible to compete successfully by offering both established brands and new or less-known brands. Neuromarketing techniques can expand your potential client and customer base and promote products and services that have a broader reach.With effective marketing, you can succeed by both using and countering conservatism biases.
Outsmart Your Competition with Neuromarketing
Traditional marketing generally ignores the cognitive errors that affect sales. Instead, typical marketing efforts stick with old-fashioned guesswork. Neuromarketing, on the other hand, understands how the emotional, unconscious brain makes decisions. It applies insights from Neuroscience, Social Psychology and Behavioral Economics when reaching out to customers. The result is more effective marketing that can increase sales conversion rates as much as 500%.