Generally speaking, the goal of successful marketing is thought to be to change people’s behavior to influence a decision, such as buying a certain product.
But behavior is actually very hard to change — people are usually very resistant to it — and in fact more successful marketing involves removing barriers that impede someone from taking the desired action, argues this piece from MarketingWeek.
The article cites a study where parents were given three options for signing up for a new education service to benefit their children. In the first option, they got a text message with a link asking them to fill out a brief form. In the second, parents could sign up up just by replying with “start.” In the third, the message notified them that they were already enrolled in the program, but they could opt out of the service by replying “stop.” The third option was overwhelmingly the most successful since it removed any steps the parent had to take to opt in — essentially, it removed all friction.
“We need to put more effort into stripping out the smallest bits of friction: pre-populating forms, removing unnecessary steps, moving purchasers to subscriptions,” the article goes on to say. “Anything that reduces customer effort will have surprisingly large effects.”
As financial marketers, we need to think about the friction and the impediments we are putting in front of customers and potential customers who try to use our products. And, in all cases where it’s possible, we should seek to streamline the process as much as we can.