Product Marketing through the Science of Decision Making

Do you know how to take a photo with a smartphone? Of course you do. How about a manual DSLR camera where you have to select aperture, shutter speed, ISO and other settings for every photo you take? Very unlikely. A better question is why? Why think about shooting when you can just point and shoot?

This mentality is not unique to photographs. Instead, it’s representative of your brain’s approach to decision-making. When it comes to making decisions, your brain prefers to go with the flow instead of stopping to think. In other words, the default decision-making form is akin to an iPhone photo, not a DSLR.

Naturally, there are countless scenarios where people have to stop and think about their steps in manual mode. Renowned neuroscientist Daniel Kahneman calls this System 2. System 2 is the manual decision-making mode of the brain. It’s slow and deliberate. When the brain acts in System 2, it slows down and goes through all available variables before arriving at a decision.

System 2 is essential to consumer psychology and crucial to marketing. Anticipating this type of “deliberate” thinking is paramount for marketers. So when is System 2 most likely to be activated? And how can marketing teams optimize it? Continue reading.

There are times when exerting the mental energy to gain manual control is necessary, and there are clear examples in the consumer world. An instance that systematically engages System 2 is a special type of product. Therefore, identifying System-2 oriented products is the first step when marketing this type of thinking.

Review your product portfolio with a decision-making lens. For example, if you categorized your products, would they be System 1 or System 2 products? Are these purchasing decisions something a customer needs to think deeply about, or will they often buy on impulse? If your product is an expensive, expensive, and complex purchase, such as buying a car, accounting software, or a home loan, consumers often use System 2. Additionally, products with a complex array of features to consider also generate high demands. for System 2 thinking.

Consider buying auto insurance, a therapist, or a new CRM. No one signs a multi-million dollar Salesforce contract on a whim.

Once you have identified the product for which System 2 thinking is natural, you can market accordingly. This requires a different approach than more impulsive System-1 oriented products.

System 2’s overall marketing strategy is simple: slow things down.

Review your current activations around your System 2 products. Appealing to impulses or nudging for quick decisions won’t work. Instead, you need to activate the cognitive side of consumers and engage them with variables relevant to their informed decision. Since System 2 products often involve a longer sales cycle, be patient. You don’t have to – and probably can’t – sell them all at once.

Invite them in and provide them with relevant data, features, and other rationally persuasive content that is more cognitively grounded than typical emotion-based selling.

A general rule is not to speed them up with scarcity tactics and limited time offers. Instead, take it slow and engage their System 2. Go at their natural pace. These slower tactics also apply to full-funnel shopping experiences, both in-person and online.

Here, you want to provide your consumer with the mental space and information they need to fuel their intensive cognitive processing. System 2 is data hungry, so give consumers what they want.

Much like using a DSLR camera, slow users down – give them the chance to analyze variables before making a decision.

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