Heart Of The Matter

Here’s a riddle for you, from Will Leach, VP of BrainJuicer’s Behavioral Labs.

Why is new product marketing like open-heart surgery?

What’s the answer? Does marketing save lives? Well, er, no. The answer is actually twofold – they’re both very difficult, and they both don’t work as well long-term as they might do. And the reason they rarely work long-term turns out to be quite similar.

Heart sold by iheartguts.com – nothing to do with the article, we just love this li’l fella.

People know – or they think they know – how new product marketing works. You have a new product, you have a benefit or a problem that it solves for the consumer, you make sure your solution is emotionally aligned to the consumer’s deep unmet needs, and so on. But 90% of new products fail, and this is the case no matter what great theories of product innovation we researchers come up with.

What’s the connection with open heart surgery? A study by Johns Hopkins University suggested that 9 out of 10 open heart patients fail to change their behavior even after undergoing surgery. Now if a powerful emotional connection between need and solution exists anywhere in this world, it exists here – this is a literal life and death decision people are making, but still they are choosing (for the most part) badly.

What has this to do with new products? Simply this: the failure of new products to launch, and the failure of open heart patients to change their ways, are at base a similar failure: the falure to persuade people to adopt a new behavior. And the root of the problem is the same in both cases – patients are walking, and products are launching, into a world where thousands upon thousands of emotional and psychological cues are aimed at getting people to behave in basically the same way they always have done.

Establishing new behavior – like any behavior change – is incredibly hard, and marketers (like doctors!) need to understand and speak the language of cues, primes and triggers in order to maximise their chances of getting it done.

To learn more about cues, primes, and examples of where understanding them has led to better business results, join Will tomorrow on our latest BrainJuicer webinar.


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