Brands that Simplify Customer Decision Making are:

86% More likely to be purchased.  115% more likely to be recommended.

Decision Simplicity in the purchase process is the #1 reason why consumers are likely to buy your product, do so repeatedly, and recommend it to others.

Research: Keep It Simple!

According to Forbes, research conducted by Corporate Executive Board (CEB) surveying over 7,000 consumers and interviewing 200 marketing executives across consumer brands and industries, yields some surprising findings with very powerful implications:

  • The top driver of likelihood to buy is Decision Simplicity
  • The impact of simplifying purchase decisions is 4x greater than the favored marketing strategy of engagement.

CEB found that a 20% increase in Decision Simplicity yielded these business results:

  •  A 96% percent increase in customer loyalty.
  • Brands being 86% percent more likely to be purchased.
  • Brands being 115% more likely to be recommended to others.
Other research has suggested these same results. For instance,  MarketingExperiments has found that less unsupervised thinking can guide more prospects to conversion.
The takeaway:  Simplifying the decision-making process so much that consumers actually have to think less about the decision increases their likelihood to buy.

3 Tactics for “Decision Simplicity”

A Harvard Business review article by CEB managing directors Patrick Splenner and Karen Freeman lays out a strategy marketers can use to simplify the purchase decision. The approach, known as Decision Simplicity,  consists of three interdependent tactics. You must help consumers:

  • Trust the information they receive – provide recommendations by consumer advisors, ratings and reviews.
  • Learn effectively without distraction – simplify the research process by offering clear and streamlined brand-specific product information targeted to each decision stage.
  • Weigh options confidently – make transparent buying guides and brand differentiated information easily available.

Case Study: Intuit

A good example of how marketers can increase Decision Simplicity is demonstrated by Intuit, the maker of TurboTax. They used the following strategies:

  • Trust – By providing more than 160,000 unfiltered user reviews and ratings on the TurboTax website, Intuit helps people find the information most relevant to them.
  • Learn – A live forum, TurboTax Live Community, allows people to ask questions and share information.
  • Weigh – Intuit designed the TurboTax home page to show basic product choices side by side for easy comparison, and took it a step further by including a “help me choose” function that guides people through an exercise to determine the best provide for them.

Recommended Tactics

MarketingExperiments‘ report “No Unsupervised Thinking: How to increase conversion by guiding your audience” is available in the form of a summary and presentation sharing best practices for landing pages that include:
  • Removing navigation and distracting calls-to-action.
  • Keeping forms short.
  • Clearly advertising the value of the offer.

This principle is applicable to all marketing media and tactics. By simplifying  marketing, we can illuminate the path to conversion to drive better results.

In HubSpot Inbound Internet Marketing blog’s article, 16 Ways to Simplify Your Prospects’ Decision-Making ProcessEllie Mirman shares 16 ways to simplify your marketing to make your prospects’ decision-making process easier. A brief review follows:
  1. Add Calls-to-Action: Effective calls-to-action make it clear to your prospect the exact path to do what you want them to do whether it be to call you, download an ebook and become a lead, follow you in social media.
  2. Limit Distracting Calls-to-Action:  Don’t overwhelm your prospects with too many calls-to-action, but make one primary by featuring it more prominently, and removing any additional navigation links or CTAs.
  3. Deliver What’s Advertised: If you deliver on something different from what’s advertised, you not only confuse your leads, but you also generate unqualified leads for the other offering.
  4. Tell People What They’re Getting:  Often, in financial services, marketers shy away from sensitive topics like Life Insurance. But if prospects aren’t completely clear about what the offer is, why would they bother to engage with you?
  5. Tell People WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?): You must give the prospect a reason to care – the value of your offer. The requested transaction should be an fair exchange – for example, they may be inclined to they give an email address in exchange for a free ebook.
  6. Don’t Hide Your Pricing Information: Eliminate suspicion, skepticism and loss of interest with transparency by making it easy to navigate to within the products section of your website.
  7. Provide Product Guides: The prospect needs to decide whether to buy your product, or opt for a competing product. A product guides about your own product or an analysis of the industry and the competing products available is a great help in supporting the evaluation process.
  8. Share Recommendations/Testimonials From Customers and Experts: Feature Social media threads, blog articles, and case studies from customers and experts and  them on your website.
  9. Let People Know How They Can Get in Touch: Include a phone number and a way to contact sales on every web page on your site.
  10. Align Navigation With What Your Buyers Are Looking For: Discover how your buyers speak, think, and what they might be looking for — and align your content and navigation around this.
  11. Surface Top-Searched or Top-Visited Content: Look at the most popular content on your site  (top-searched, top-visited, etc.) to understand more about what your prospects are looking for and then make it easier for new prospects to find it. For instance, you can feature your top-performing offer on your homepage, and list the most popular articles on the homepage of your blog.
  12. Don’t Ignore Questions or Feedback: Ignoring tough questions and critical feedback can worsen the situation, inciting a prospect to post even more critical comments. A question or bit of feedback, is an opportunity to engage with a prospect and address any questions or issues, and may be opportunities to lead more prospects to conversion. There are free and paid tools available to help you monitor conversations in social media.
  13. Categorize Your Content by Skill Level, Role, Etc.: If you’re targeting different types of potential customers, help them to self-identify what content and which products are best suited for their particular needs by categorizing and labeling your content. You might label content by skill level (introductory, intermediate, and advanced, by industry and role (small business vs. marketing teams, non-profit vs. ecommerce) to help prospects find the best content for them more quickly, rather than getting overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content, or getting lost on your website.
  14. Assign an Owner for Each Channel/Asset: Having a DRI (Directly Responsible Person), an owner for each marketing channel or asset ensures nothing falls through the cracks. You’ll be able to evaluate the potential conversion paths, respond to questions from prospects stuck at different stages of the conversion path, and make sure you’re getting the best results from each channel and asset.
  15. Pick a Campaign, and Focus All Channels on It: Look for opportunities to combine marketing efforts and focus multiple channels on a single campaign. It will be easier to implement and give you more synergistic results by helping focus your prospects on your top campaign.
  16. Focus on 1-3 Metrics That Are Most Important to Your Business: Determine your marketing team’s specific goals, and then  focus on a few metrics that are most important to your business. This will influence your strategy and help you better focus your time, calls-to-action, and other efforts.

Snap! principle of Decision Simplicity:

Simplify  marketing to illuminate the path to conversion and drive better results.