What switching triggers really mean

Switching triggers are always emotional

The purpose of all marketing and share-stealing brand development is to influence the purchase decision. Therefore, leverage switching triggers.

This remains true regardless of category and focus. Every brand expects its marketing and brand messages to persuade and change usage habits. In fact, it doesn’t matter if someone is a consumer (business to consumer) or a decision maker (business to business). The target market may be different, but the goals are the same. Enter into the considered set of choices and create preference. Own the switching triggers.

For just a moment, think about the dynamics of change. Why would someone consider changing an existing idea in regards to a purchase decision? How do you get noticed in a crowded market space? How do you persuade them to believe that your brand is a better choice?

Now, just take a cursory look at human behavior and the hierarchy of your own category of services. As a result, you see how difficult it is to change. Human beings are resistant to change. We are often loyal to a previous idea (the habit of repeated usage).

Why does this loyalty exist? Well, this sense of loyalty is really an innate desire to reinforce one’s own belief in our personal rightness. Change means re-evaluating a past decision and accepting the possibility that our choice is not the correct one.

All human beings resist this sort of action. We all want to think of ourselves as fundamentally right.

Target audiences don’t like to be wrong

But brands often mistake this dynamic by believing that it represents equity in their brand loyalty itself. As if choosing a particular brand makes the purchase decision easier. In fact, many brand managers say, “Choosing a familiar brand in a crowded market space is a simpler choice and an extension of the brand’s value.” These managers are correct. But simplifying the choice is more about the reinforcement of personal correctness than it is about safety or simplicity. Consumers repeat a considered choice because it is an act of self-confirmation.

Switching TriggersAs you can see, the individual personality is imprinted on the purchase decision. Also, it explains why improved product innovation and advanced product features often fail to turn the tide.

Consider your own business category as an example. I don’t care what category your brand competes in, ask yourself this. Does the market leader have the best product? Also, is the market leader the least expensive? Does the market leader call itself an innovator? Is your brand loyalty unassailable?

The answer is no doubt, “No,” to all of these. Yet, these are the very equities that many believe define the market. Therefore, brand managers jostle with the competitive set to out promise or undersell. Stop. Take a step back and take a closer look. What you discover will change everything.

How to find meaningful switching triggers

But Stealing Share understands that switching triggers — the values and understandings that your prospects covet and would change their buying habits — are not rational product benefits. That is, they are not lowest pricing. But if your marketing research disagrees with this contention, then your research is flawed. You have not asked the right questions if your research U&A (usage and attitudinal) study suggests cutting prices and improving your product offering will grow your share and profitability. The market leader in your segment will continue to win and appreciates your help.

Switching Triggers


Switching triggers are emotional triggers. In addition, they represent two important discoveries. 1) A switching trigger changes the category if it is revealed and highly intensive emotionally. 2) By its very definition, a switching trigger represents what is currently lacking in emotional fulfillment. It represents a void and need in your category.

In fact, the most effective switching triggers are always vastly different from best practices. In every category, best practices define your brand’s commitment to quality and relevance. However, do not confuse these with how your customer chooses. (Remember, look back on your own category. If the market leader is not the best, cheapest, and most reliable, then these are not switching triggers).

Do not delude yourself that your problem is awareness. You know the story. “We would be the market leader if only audiences understood our quality and effectiveness.” Ask yourself why you are not noticed?

Look Closely

This brings us full circle back to the difficulty of breaking old habits. Remember, audiences ignore your best practice message because purchase and brand loyalty is an extension of the customer’s own desire to believe they are. In fact, they don’t even notice you.

Switching TriggersThink about it this way. Would anyone or any company purchase a product they believed was ineffective, unsafe, or failed to work? Of course not.

Would anyone keep their money in a brand they thought was unsafe? Ask yourself this. Would they buy a car they thought was unreliable? Are there any companies that would purchase a telephony system that was not reliable and intuitive? Would any person frequent a restaurant where the employees were rude? Is there any industry that would purchase inferior raw materials? Would you use a credit card that is declined by merchants? Do you drink a beer that tastes awful?

Therefore, you must know more about the person or decision maker than your competition. That’s how you are noticed and able to change behavior. We can help you do just that. In fact, we set benchmarks for your best practices and create a single minded brand definition that reflects the highest emotional intensity of the customers you wish to influence. Also, we give them ownership of the switching triggers that propel them to notice you and switch.

Or you can continue to promise them your brand is a better choice.

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