The Paradox of choice

March 10, 2008 at 4:42 pm Leave a comment

I recently read a great book by Barry Schwartz, entitled “The paradox of choice” which outlines various scenarios to propose the theory that the more choice you have the unhappier you get. From my own life, I know this to be true in a lot of cases. I am not talking about existential situations where it is always nicer to have an option other than, let’s say, chemotherapy. I am talking about what marketers do with consumers everyday: providing choice, where there is none necessary or essential. As a result, the decision making process of making the choice leads to insecurity, stress and resentment, and even regret. If you can choose from 24 different pair of jeans, you either need a lot of time (which equals stress) or you will make a decision before you really know which one is the best for you, and before that you still need to narrow it down. Even if it is better than the pants you were wearing before, you still wonder: Is it the best one? It’s only natural that, in the last years, the trend to human simplicity and less choice has become a marketing strategy. However, it is a brand promise only a few can keep.

Anyhow, now I recently found this on e-marketer: a study and testimonials about this exact topic, essentially mirroring Barry Schwarz’s thesis, albeit in slightly changed framing.

Check it out


Entry filed under: Consumer, Experience, Insight, madness, marketers, Marketing, opinion. Tags: , .

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