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The paradox of choice

apples Amos Tversky and Elder Sharif conducted a landmark study on the decision making process.  As a part of their study, they asked college students if they’d prefer to:
  • Attend a lecture by an author they admire
  • Go to the library and study
Only 21% decided to study.  They then asked another group of students to choose between:
  • Attend a lecture by an author they admire
  • Watch a movie that they wanted to see
  • Go to the library and study
One would assume that when given more choices of activities students might enjoy other than studying, they would be less likely to choose studying.  However, what they found was the opposite.  40% of the students in the second group decided to study, rather than choosing the more appealing alternatives. It’s completely irrational.  But when faced with multiple attractive choices, because we can’t decide on which is better, we often select an even worse choice. This is why it’s important in marketing to clearly develop your core unique selling proposition.  How are you specifically different than another alternative?  What do you offer that’s significantly different?  If you say the same things as other companies in your industry, if you compete on the same features, people may end up not choosing either of you.  Seek to be a market of one.  Strive to develop as many distinctions in your offering as possible.  Make your product or service the natural choice.