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The First Step is the Hardest

June 14, 2009

Taking a first step is hard. When you are faced with a massive undertaking or a big life change, taking that first step can be the hardest part to actually do, the rest is usually just a matter of momentum.

Having that last cigarette. Not that cigarette that you say is the last one, but deciding not to have that last cigarette at all and throwing out the whole pack is a very big deal.

Deciding to exercise regularly is easy. Actually getting up an hour earlier every morning so you can start you do a three mile run or take a yoga class before work is really hard to do.

Sometimes its good to have a push or a pull. I like the metaphor presented by these two robots - Pushya and Pullya.

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One is gentle while the other use more urgent methods to get you going in the right direction. These mechanical imps could help overcome the usual barriers of doubt, procrastination, and the entrenchment of habit.

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So how can we apply this to marketing? A lot of times marketing is about getting people to change their behavior to use or use more of your product or service. How do you get consumers to change their behavior to buy or use more of your product? Changing entrenched behavior can be hard, so what would Pushya or Pullya do to say, encourage people to use public transportation more often?

Pullya would get you bus passes and help map your route to work, while Pushya would empty your gas tank and put your car on Craigslist.

How would they get people to use more laundry detergent?

Pullya would organize a game of capture the flag with your friends in the park (think grass stains, sweat, and dirt) and help you plant a garden in the backyard, while Pushya would buy you an incontinent puppy.

How would the get people to put more money into savings and investments?

Pullya would take the change from your cash purchases and put them in a piggybank, while Pushya would take money out your paycheck for investments and automatically payoff you credit card bills every month.

How would Pushya and Pullya change your consumer's behavior?

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