The 3 “Marketing Paradoxes” Explained (Part 2)

Kid in Library 1In Part 1 of this Marketing Paradoxes three part series, you learned about the Paradox of Distribution which I defined as follows:

“You can’t get adequate distribution of a product until you’ve proven it can sell; but, you can’t prove a product can sell until you’ve gotten adequate distribution in the market.”  

The second Marketing Paradox I want to delineate here is what’s known as the Paradox of Choice

In fact, it’s the actual title of a ground-breaking book that belongs in every marketing library called, The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less by best-selling author and social psychologist, Barry Schwartz.

Paradox #2: The Paradox of Choice

I define this paradox from a marketer’s perspective as:

“The more choices you have, the more paralyzed you become as a result of your inability to make clear buying decisions.  The more indecisive you become, the less freedom you have in making buying decisions.” 

Re-read that paragraph again so it’s crystal clear in your mind.

I’ll explain more about what that means in a moment, but first I want you understand a phenomenon that is unique to world citizens who are living in the first decade of the 21st century.

Today, having more choices is a bane, not a boon. “We are no longer in the ‘Information Age’ … we are now in the ‘Recommendation Age,’ says my good friend and colleague Glenn Dietzel.

I agree with Glenn because we now live in an over-marketed, over-communicated and overwhelmed society. What we need (and want) is more recommendations – not more information – on the choices available to us.

Instead, we have too much information at our fingertips. 

Surfing on Google and Yahoo can drive anyone nutty with the number of results (choices) that pop up with each keyword phrase entered.  And, that doesn’t even count the marketing communications that crash into our consciousness each day.

If you live in a mid-sized metropolitan area such as Houston, San Francisco or Orlando, you typically get hit with over 3,000 marketing communications and ads each day. That’s over 24,500 marketing communications per week or 1.24 million per year!

The official dogma of all Western industrial societies in 20th century according to social psychologist, Barry Schwartz is:

“The way to maximize freedom is to maximize choice.  The more choice people have, the more freedom they have.  And it follows that the more freedom people have, the more welfare they have.”

Yet, just the opposite is true today in the 21st century.

“More means less” reports Schwartz.  I agree with him because in my own experience I’ve discovered that the more choices my students have, the more crippled they become with indecision as their analysis paralysis creeps in.

The end end result?  Less freedom and less peace-of-mind.

In The Paradox of Choice Barry Schwartz explains why too much choice has led to the ever increasing complexity of everyday decisions. 

Too much of a good thing these days becomes detrimental to human psychological and emotional well-being as well as hindering a clear focus (in our lives) on making the right choices.

Here again is how I define this paradox in my own marketing language:

“The more choices you have, the more paralyzed you become as a result of your inability to make clear buying decisions.  The more indecisive you become, the less freedom you have in making buying decisions.” 

Here are a few examples of what that statement means …

Click to eBay to see 37 choices in the Shop Your Favorite Categories alone.  It’s mind boggling!

Or, hop over to Amazon and you’ll find 31 choices on the “Search” drop-down menu on the home page.

Or, just walk into your local grocery store and you’ll typically find over 280 varieties of cookies, 75 ice teas, 230 soup flavors, 170 salad dressings, 40+ toothpaste brands and that doesn’t even scratch the surface.

If you agree with Glenn and me that as 21st century citizens we are now in the “Recommendation Age,” then what we need and want most is trusted advisors – professionals whom we trust who have already plowed the ground before us.

In my own experience, I’ve become a trusted advisor to thought leaders within the Human Potential Movement such as Jack Canfield, Ivan Misner, Mark Victor Hansen, Chris Howard, T. Harv Eker and others who seek my advice about my Teleseminar Secrets.

Key Point:  The fastest, easiest, most reliable way to blast through the crippling effects the Paradox of Choice is to find a trusted advisor or mentor who already knows what you’re about to learn. 

As former U.S. President Harry S. Truman once said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts most.”

So right now, I’d like you to favor me a few more minutes of your reading time and check out Part 3 of this Marketing Paradox series. 

Is it a deal?

The Paradoxes of “Distribution” (Part 1) and “Choice” (Part 2) are both interesting concepts to think about. But neither of these first two Marketing Paradoxes can hold a candle to the marketing significance of the Paradox of Syndication I discuss in Part 3 (above).

What To Do Now: Please give me your candid comment below and tell your friends and colleagues to read this post and give me their candid comments below as well.  Sound fair enough to you?

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