Last week I started this series with a little insight into confirmation bias and how we as marketers can recognize it in ourselves (but also in others). This week, I'd like to talk about 'status quo bias' - humans' somewhat innate tendency to not want to change methodology, process or product when it has worked for us in the past, or it simply is what we know best. Status quo bias is often intermixed with either loss aversion (fear of the unknown) or future optimism (wishful thinking). Whichever is present, we refuse change because change requires energy.
As marketers, we encounter the status quo bias when it comes to developing and implementing new strategies and tactics that are meant to drive success for our clients, but have never been seen or done within the organization before. So how can you use status quo bias to your advantage?
Since you are effectively asking your clients to make a decision and expense energy on a change they are not certain will work out in their favor, it is important that you provide confidence and ease in those two areas. Don’t force any change. Make it as painless and natural as possible. Underline how easy the strategy and tactics are and outline clearly a solution for implementation that will have the least resistance. Also, don't present too many options - that just means too many decisions. That will make them feel overwhelmed, tired and confused and they will end up refusing to make any decision. Lastly, don't be shy to outline the opportunity cost of doing nothing - what will it mean if they stick to the status quo? Do the analysis and show how the new path is advantageous to their goals (personal and professional).
I know this means leg work on our part as marketers. But it pays off and clients will truly see you as a partner that has their best interest in mind, continually.
Not only does the status quo bias unfairly overweight the losses for change, but more important, it ignores the opportunity cost for staying the same.