Have you ever gone shopping only to come home with something entirely different than what you had planned to buy?
Of course you have. We all have.
“Physicists like to think that all you have to do is say,
‘these are the conditions, now what happens next?'”
– Richard Feynman, (winner of the 1965 Nobel Prize)
Advertising people can be like that, too. We like to believe that we can ask, “What does the customer want?” and an answer will be forthcoming. But in truth, what the customer wants is in a constant state of flux.
Decision is a destination, a tangible place of certainty, but the multiple paths that will take us there can be faint and foggy and damp. We are confronted by choices unanticipated. We find new information, unexpected options, possibilities we did not foresee.
Simply stated, our buying motives can evolve from a tiger to a mouse to a llama to a rhino to a little pink pony in the space of a single hour.
Darwin would be made dizzy.
Professor Sexton reminded me of all this recently when he discovered that our ongoing “evolution of motive” has a scientific name. And like all scientific names, this one is both confusing and dull: Heterogeny of Ends.
Read the WIKIPEDIA entry for Heterogeny of Ends and you’ll learn that
“an ongoing behavioral sequence must often be understood in terms of ever-shifting patterns of primary and secondary goals. For example, one may accept the invitation of a friend to attend an art show. Initially, the motive is simply the anticipation of a pleasant evening in good friendship, but in the course of that evening, one encounters a highly desirable work of art and wishes to purchase it. A whole new set of motives now enter the picture and exist alongside – and in addition to – the original motive.”
I present this information for your consideration today because I’m concerned about the public’s growing reverence for numbers and measurements and statistics. We seem to have arrived at the silly conclusion that every decision-making process is the same.
We human males are small and simple enough to think we can ask, “What does a woman want?” in the belief that someone, somewhere, someday will finally be able to answer us.
But a woman will answer that question with one of her own; “Who is the woman and what time is it?”
What does the customer want?
Your customers want confidence that they’ve made the right decision. The big umbrella answer is confidence. But I cannot tell you what combination of information and events will give a particular customer confidence.
I cannot list the little raindrop answers. And when the sad day arrives that someone finally can, human beings will no longer be magical.
Roy H. Williams
The Mutt and the Mustang is a children’s book,
inspired by a true friendship between a dog and a horse.
The story-behind-the-story is brimming with inspiration as well. Listen in as Dean Rotbart asks Judy Archibald – a widowed senior citizen on a limited income – how she cracked the self-publishing code and turned her illustrated children’s book into a critical and financial success. The story of Judy’s Pet Pals Publishing is completely true; it only feels like a fairytale. MondayMorningRadio.com