What To Do When You Lose That Spark

"Did you know that repeated consumption of products and experiences leads to a reduction in enjoyment over time? This is known as satiation. It's the process whereby people slowly (hopefully) get sick of a product after using it for a period. Unlucky for marketers, the satiation process starts almost immediately after acquisition."

Not only do we want our customers to be happy with their purchases, in the case of repeat consumption, but we also want to keep our customers coming back. How do we fight this natural downslide in consumer satisfaction due to satiation?

Top tips to keep it interesting

• Change it up

Changing little, non-core things about your product can keep your customers interested. Slight changes to the brand, font, channel or delivery signals to your consumers that you are constantly trying to improve and also helps starve off satiation. But have caution: changing too much, especially core features of a product, might be upsetting for consumers; with too much change to the status quo a consumer might seek out another brand.

• Limit

Research has found that consumers satiate more slowly when products and services are available only at limited times. This is likely because we as humans are highly motivated by loss-framing. We don’t like the feeling of losing out on an opportunity. Limiting the timing or quantity of a product makes its consumption seem like a rare opportunity. Doing so has been shown to increase quantity consumed as well as decrease satiation.

• Align with consumer identity

Products satiate more slowly when associated with a core identity of a consumer. Consumers are motivated to choose products that align well with their identities – products help to define and maintain people’s self-concept through reinforcing their identities. Research by Chugani and team has found that satiation (i.e., the natural drop in enjoyment over time) with a product that is identity-aligned produces a feeling of dissonance because the product becomes identity inconsistent. This misalignment is a threat to self-identity, and consumers want to avoid the negative feelings associated with identity threat, sometimes resulting in consuming MORE of the product.

I found a great example in the study itself “For example, a Star Trek fan may start questioning whether Star Trek is really a key part of who he or she is when experiencing reduced enjoyment while watching a 20 episode marathon. When the decline in enjoyment that naturally occurs with satiation happens for an identity-consistent product, the decline represents an inconsistency between a consumer’s evaluation and an important self-concept.”

• Do something cool

Partner with another brand (maybe add a cause [hyperlink to the cause-related marketing blog post], especially a cause that is important to your targeted customers), add to your range of products, launch a marketing campaign encouraging customers to try different varieties of your product, release special editions, embrace seasonal changes, add promotions, or interact with your customers in a new way (social media, online ordering, etc.). There are many ways you can rekindle the magic. Bonus: these initiatives might help you bag new customers. Amazing!

We might be marketers, but we are people too. My best advice is to sit down and think about what you’d like to see as a consumer of your product or service. Interact with your customers and reach out. In the end, the key is balance, because you can have too much of a good thing.

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