Understanding different ways customers make decisions will help you address all of them instead of just one
James explains consumer "decision modes" (spontaneous, competitive, humanistic, and methodical), based on FutureNow's buying persona research.
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this is James Archer from 40 and I'm going to give you a quick introduction to decision modes when you're designing something it's easy to fall into the trap of designing it for yourself if you tend to be an emotional decision maker you might focus on feelings and sensations rather than raw data or if you're a detail-oriented decision-maker you might tend to skip all of that emotional fluff and go right for hard numbers in fact now the problem with approaching design from this perspective is that not everyone thinks the way you think heck even you don't think the way you think you think all the time sometimes you might be prone to emotional decisions for example and sometimes not and that's okay you're human we humans are weird like that so instead of making marketing choices based on wherever our brain happens to be at the moment we found it to be really helpful to look at these different ways of thinking objectively and then make sure we're accommodating all of these different decision modes instead of just the one we're in at the moment when evaluating the different types of decision makers will be looking at a piece of marketing you'll want to remember two really important scales the first scale is slow and fast fast decision makers want to check it out scan for key points and establish their opinion within a matter of seconds they're in a hurry and they're not going to slow down to read all your persuasive copy slow decision makers would prefer to explore all the information available to them let it soak in think it over and then make a choice later on they're going to ignore your by now and contact us today messages they're going to take their sweet time getting comfortable with your product or service before they do anything the second scale is logical to emotional logical decision makers are prudent practical pragmatic analyzers to gather the objective facts assess all the variables and then make the most rational choice they're not in it for the touchy-feely crap they want to know what makes your offering better than the next guys emotional decision makers aren't really worried about marginal differences in quality or features they want to buy what makes them feel good they follow their hearts and value brands to help them affirm their own identity affiliate with a larger tribe or aspire to something greater an interesting thing happens when you combine these two scales together you get a pretty clear breakdown of the four different decision modes slow and logical fast and logical slow and emotional and fast and emotional these are pretty cumbersome names though so we followed the lead of future now who named these types methodical competitive humanistic and spontaneous these four types are new by the way though they've gone by different names you'll find parallels to these four decision modes and personality breakdowns throughout history in about 400 BC for example the ancient Greeks were describing the four basic temperaments which are roughly equivalent to these four decision modes most people tend toward one mode or another but it's perfectly possible to switch around depending on what's being purchased the time of day what you had for breakfast whether you have a hot date tonight how much money you have in your bank account and so on it's plausible to think that a single person could go through all four decision modes in a single day okay so that's a lot of great psychological stuff but you want to know how this actually applies to your daily work you have to design a website a business card or print ad or whatever and you're wondering which decision mode do I design for when possible designed for all of them at the very least be thinking about each of these people as you go through the process so you can make intelligent decisions about what to include and what to leave out sometimes it's not possible to appeal to everyone but when you're not you should know exactly what you're missing so you can address it in other ways let's take a look at mint com an online personal finance tool as an example someone in methodical mode is going to skip the hype and start searching for important details that other users might overlook one example might be security issues minkum addresses these concerns right on the homepage including details someone in competitive mode is going to want some quick proof that this is the right solution they'll appreciate quick summaries expert validation customer testimonials and press coverage a humanistic mode user is more likely to soak in the overall brand experience enjoying elements such as a colorful leafy logo interesting visual elements like the grass down here and especially a video of an actual human being a potential customer and the spontaneous decision mode is going to trust their gut make a decision in seconds they'll appreciate quick perks like free calls to action like get started here and brief summaries of benefits like all your accounts in one place and find instant savings notice how they've managed to do this in a pretty simple design it's clean it's lightweight and it appeals to potential customers in any of the four decision modes there are a lot of things you can do to appeal to each of these different modes for the methodical decision mode explain the process provide details and examples and give them enough detail that they can dig into it if they want to for customers in the competitive mode credentials and proof are their first priority explain what sets you apart it helps if you can frame it in terms of being the best at something or even better the only one of something for the humanistic decision mode use visual design sound whatever other resources are available to create a rich sensory experience for the customer tell a story an emotional one that helps them to see that they're buying more than a commodity and whenever possible show the human side of your business whether that's your staff your customers or someone else and for the spontaneous decision mode try to help your customers see themselves with your product or service help them to identify by showing people like them or using keywords that they would use to identify themselves then show them how quick and easy it can be and explicitly encourage them to act through phrases like by now sign up today contact us and so on concepts evan has developed some sketch paper that makes it easy to jot down ideas for each of the different decision modes if you'd like to check it out here's a shortcut URL I've talked a lot about how the decision modes relate to design but keep in mind that these same principles apply to sales copywriting negotiation account management or any other context where someone is going to be making a decision as you think about new ways to apply these decision modes in your everyday work you'll find a lot of opportunities to connect with people on a deeper level this has been a quick introduction to decision modes and I'm James Archer from 40 check us out online at 40 agency com