Wednesday, April 1, 2009

11: What does it take to get out of bed?

It's nice in the groove; you know where you are going. There's a comfortable inevitability about a groove that suits the soul. No need to plan, no need to panic; the future is laid out for you, further down the groove (and not much you can do about it).

So what's your groove? A taste in music; Certain food; A certain man/woman; A life-style; A warm bath; Being British (Chose your own preferences here); Sun; Snow; Bed (in the morning); A route to work ... We have so many they must be a fundamental part of our nature. I guess without them every decision would have to be taken and progress would be at a snail's pace. So you find out what works or where the crowd is going; then you follow the groove. Grooves automate big chunks of life ... so you don't need to think about them.

Like a bicycle and a tram line (you'll have to be quite old in the UK to understand this), grooves capture you when you get close to their alignment, and they don't let go once they have you! That's why it is so difficult to deviate from your groove ... That's why it's so difficult to get out of bed, change your beer, change your partner, or change your job. You may have freedom of action, but can you be bothered to take it?

Grooves work for you: They stop your competitors getting a foot-hold in your market. After all your customer is 'fairly happy with your product', and it will take a 'lot of effort' for him/her to change over.

And grooves work against you: You may see an opportunity to do something differently, but it involves change; and the change, well, just takes too much effort to overcome the inertia.

A groove is a fur lined manacle ... Groovy Baby!

No scientific study would be complete without an equation, so I will not disappoint. After an exhaustive study of human nature the height of a groove wall is 3 x Pi = 9.4248; which for convenience I suggest you consider as 10. Meaning that when the product of the energy of Dissatisfaction (eD) and the energy of Attraction (eA) exceeds 10, then the incumbent is displaced from his/her grove and free to pursue the alternative.

So whilst your competitors product may be 2x better than yours, you can take comfort that your customer will not actually switch until he is 5x dissatisfaction with yours. Cool!

This is "Better the devil you know ..." in an equation!

... But don't get complacent about this. If your competitor offers 1.5x in performance, 1.5x in price, and 1.5x in 'green credentials'; then your customer is getting edgy when he is only experiencing 2x in dissatisfaction from you (6.75x). Just another 1.5x from somewhere and he's off ... and remember it's his units not yours. Your comfort-margin may be significantly less than you think.

And though it works both ways, perversely you have to 'promise' a >10x package to guarantee to attract the attention of a customer who is otherwise perfectly happy with his incumbent supplier.

That does it ... I'm going to stay in bed for ten more minutes.