Meet Your Newest Competition: Apathy

Generally speaking when you create your marketing plan and conduct your SWOT analysis, you look at your direct and indirect competitors and forge ways to outshine them.  This is how it’s always been done, right?   Well, according to sales consulting firm, The Sales Benchmark Index, there is one other “competitor” brands usually forget to consider, and that is apathy….or the situation in which consumers make no decision at all.  Gasp!

According to Forrester Research, consumers find themselves reining in purchase behavior when there is a lack of information or compelling marketing messaging.  When there’s an absence of appropriate and targeted information the product fails to stimulate the part of the brain responsible for buying decisions.  The old brain, or the brain stem (the part of the brain responsible for survival), searches for information that creates a sense of urgency and encourages consumers to buy in that very moment.  The old brain longs to be “called to action.”

This is where differentiation becomes key.  To drive consumers into action and get them to move away from the status quo, you need to highlight how a change from homeostasis would benefit them.  The brain also loves contrast, so creating messaging that shows an evolution or a “from a to b” scenario has proven very effective.

While working on a national infomercial for one of our clients, this case was proven through and through. One of the most effective tools throughout the show were the use of the before and after images.  Demonstrating to consumers how they can progress from their current situation to a future one creates promise and speaks to the part of the old brain that wants to get into action.  It takes us from apathy to excitement pulling in the emotional centers of the brain while also speaking to the old brain.  Then following those images with a call to action creates marketing magic.

So when you’re putting together your marketing plan, don’t just look at the competitive landscape.  Look at the current consumer, their reasons for buying and identify ways to take them from apathetic to excited by involving them in the brand.  The brain is longing to get into action, it just needs the right prompts.

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