What is Strategic Habit Management?
A habitual customer is a profitable customer. Habitual customers repeatedly purchase products and services with little need for conscious involvement or intention. These habits deliver consistent and reliable revenue while also reducing the cost of sale; because behavior is unconsciously triggered by contexts and cues, these customers no longer require the costly marketing investment as new customers to be sold—the purchase simply happens automatically. And because these habitual customers are not consciously attending to messages in the performance context, they are far more resistant to pricing fluctuations and competitive incursions.
It follows, then, that a company's primary concern should be maximizing the percentage of its customers in "autopilot," and should pursue that goal by aligning its marketing, finance, and operations toward efforts that are habit-forming. Strategic Habit Management is an approach designed to do just that, directing an organization's consumer-facing efforts toward three behavioral goals:
Disrupt Competing Habits
Customers with habits for competing behaviors must be disrupted before new behaviors can take hold.
Create New Habits
Customers can be trained to create new habits through repetition and reinforcement until their unconscious minds learn the behavior.
Maintain Existing Habits
Habitual customers can be kept in autopilot through intermittent reinforcement and avoiding conscious awareness.
Strategic Habit Management takes an active role in these objectivies by constantly working to disrupt competing habits, install new ones, and ensure existing habits are maintained. These interventions are achieved by managing customer interactions through the Path to Habit Formation framework.
What is the Path to Habit Formation framework?
The Path to Habit Formation framework distills the key objectives of Strategic Habit Management into an actionable methodology. Holistically, it represents habit formation as a five-stage process. These stages reflect the natural mechanism by which the unconscious mind takes over control of product and service behaviors from the conscious mind.
DISRUPT the old behavior.
Disruption makes consumers aware of their unconscious actions and diverts them to alternatives. The Disrupt stage weakens the strength of the existing habit through targeted interventions and draws consumers to a new behavioral "path."
ACTIVATE the new behavior.
Activation leverages established contexts and strong cues to trigger the desired behavior. The Activate stage communicates the ideal contexts for purchase and use and creates explicit cues to trigger a new behavior during disruption.
REINFORCE the new behavior.
Reinforcement informs the brain that the outcome of a particular behavior is desirable. The Reinforce stage ensures intense reinforcing feedback of the initial behavior via tangible benefits, emotional connections, and post hoc rationalization.
TRAIN through repetition.
Training induces the customer to repeat the behavior at least three to five times to begin habit formation. The Train stage creates a sustainable “activate-reinforce-repeat” cycle to ensure the necessary repetitions and prevent a return to old habits.
MAINTAIN to retain.
Maintenance ensures habitual customers remain unconscious in their decision-making. The Maintain stage uses intermittent reinforcement to sustain habit strength, works to diminish competitive incursions, and avoids any activities that raise the conscious awareness of current customers.
Sublime Behavior Marketing is at the forefront of adapting marketing practices to how customers actually make decision in the real world. Our work fuses cutting edge research from top neuroscientists, psychologists, and behavioral economists to an easy-to-understand model of behavior.
How do I get started with Strategic Habit Management?
Getting started is easy: just reach out and contact us. We'll begin by scheduling an obligation-free workshop with you, your team, and one of Sublime's behavior experts to dive deep into your customer challenges and shift your focus to a strategy built on shaping and changing consumer habits. From there we will recommend the best path forward, which may include implementing one of our consulting or research services.