The modern addict is a very different image than ones of past decades. The addicts of our time are getting their fix from a range of online distractions. There is a great deal of literature and research that has gone into the narcotic effects of these sites such as: Twitter, Pinterest and, of course, Facebook.
In The Business Of Crafting Desire
In the modern age of selling distraction, it is the companies that can quickly form strong user habits that come out on top. These companies have a clever web of internal triggers that will cause users to visit their site without an external prompt.
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Marketing goes out of the window with habit-forming products. These companies simply become part of the daily routines of their customers. This is called the: ‘first-to-mind’ characteristic. When the customer is bored, sad, interested in a topic or has a spare moment they immediately think of the product and company.
While it sounds very simple to create this kind of company as there are so many of these sites already active, it isn’t as straightforward. Manufacturing desire is a skill that takes time to develop. The successful companies are the ones that can create the right hook for their customers.
Habit forming technology has some identifying characteristics that come up in everything from video games to advertising campaigns. These are the five steps create an effective hook. Although the process can be applied to a varied selection of companies and products this guide is focused on consumer Internet companies.
The start of the process is what powers whether it is successful or not. Most of the time the triggers work in a combination of both external and internal ones. The technology will provide the customer with an external trigger to start a cycle towards an internal trigger. Some example external triggers are links on a website, an email or an app icon. The feelings that these external triggers create will eventually become internalized, and a habit is formed.
Once the trigger creates a desire, then the action needs to be directed. This can be based on two aspects of behavior: motivation and ability. The key to encouraging the customer to take the action is to make it as obvious and to make it require the least amount of effort possible. This is the ability aspect of the process. At the same time, the design of the product must continue the motivation aspect by being immediately attractive.
The reward step of the process is one of the most intricate and needs to be carefully planned. It isn’t easy enough to give a predictable reward, it must be a variable reward. If you gave a person a box, and there is a minimal reward inside that was continually the same, they would quickly take the box for granted and lose interest. If the box occasionally threw out a larger more exciting reward, then that changes everything.
Creating intrigue puts customers into an intense hunting state of mind. This makes desire become the guiding force. As a variable reward system, it can form some of the strongest habits. With the examples of Facebook or Pinterest, it is the fact that the rewarding content is different with each visit. It is not predictable, and, therefore, it creates a need to visit more often to get greater rewards and the user’s next big “hit”.
Most habit-forming processes finish with the reward and create a short loop. The key to manufacturing desire is the investing phase. This step has two main goals. Firstly the company wants the customer to have a high chance of passing through the process again and again. Secondly is to use the dopamine reward state to push customers into parting with some cash, time, data, effort or social capital.
The difference between most sales pitches is that with manufacturing desire the investment will improve the service. In terms of online companies, it comes in virtual assets, learning about new features and inviting other users. The company uses each investment to make the trigger even more attractive. This will eventually result in the reward being more exciting with every pass the customer takes through the hook process.
Using The Power Wisely
Habit design is a powerful tool and should be utilized carefully. It can create a whole range of entertaining parts of a person’s lift and healthy routines. It can, however, be used to create extremely damaging and wasteful addictions.
Whether it is right or not to use is certainly an important question but one that has to be answered while also remembering that the technique is already here and is here to stay. The benefits for companies are just too great, including greater access to the collection of customer data. The combination of access, speed and data creates a whole range of types of habit-forming triggers.
With such a powerful effect, it is clear how important it is for a company to understand the hook process and how to utilize it successfully. Equally the average customer needs to know precisely how these processes work in order to prevent excessive and unwanted manipulation.
Being able to manufacture desire is what will differentiate between companies that succeed and those that fail in the future. This is especially true to those that can build a service around especially attractive internal triggers that don’t require any need for further marketing or external triggers.
By following the four-step process can help any company to create a successful hook based product. For the customer, being aware of the processes will help to keep this powerful technique from being put into the hands of companies that are profiting off of damaging habits.
With the right companies using positive triggers that generate healthy or life-affirming rewards will mean that manufacturing desire will place many customers on a hook cycle that will benefit them and their wellbeing in general.