I’m delighted to have Kritika Murli as a guest author today.
I met Kritika, a bright young marketer from Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business, via Twitter and during my keynote at this year’s AMA International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans. When I mentioned this powerful book by Charles Duhigg, she got pretty excited. Seems like this book had the same effect on each of us. I can honestly say that it personally changed my life.
Here’s Kritika’s take on what YOU can take away from Charles Duhigg’s exploration into why we do what we do in life and business. Enjoy!
The Power of Habit: A Review from Lens of a Marketing Student
Being an avid reader, books were always a standard part of my life. Due to busyness and lack of time, reading anything that hasn’t been assigned unfortunately does not make as heavy of an appearance as I would liked during the school year.
I was quite pleased once I found a book that completely grabbed my attention — one that made me feel as if I couldn’t put it down once I started combing through the pages.
The Power of Habit by New York Times columnist and researcher Charles Duhigg was quite intriguing, and it has successfully changed my views on life. I originally stumbled across the book while reading an article published as an excerpt that discussed Andrew Pole’s predictive algorithms and how they work inside one of the largest retail brands, Target.
Reading this book and learning about the habit loop really allowed me to rethink the complex concept of life. I didn’t realize the simplicity of most of the decisions we make daily. Charles Duhigg states that everything could be condensed into a Cue, Routine, and Reward. Simply put, the cue would serve as a hint to get into a routine, therefore resulting in a personal reward.
After reading examples of how famous coaches like Tony Dungy trained his team to look for cues that resulted in routine reactions, or how Starbucks changed the life of barista Travis Leach, I realized that I could implement all of the things in my life that I wanted with discipline.
Applying The Power of Habit in My Life
After reading the book, I sat down and took a look at all my healthy and unhealthy habits.
I came up with one goal that I wanted to set for myself — namely that I would get up and shower as soon as I got up rather than lying in bed as precious minutes flew by.
Next, I set about giving myself cues, making sure to arrange my room so that the first thing I’d see in the morning after hearing my alarm would be my towel which served as a blunt reminder that I needed to shower.
As soon I set this cue up and built up the routine of showering and getting ready first thing in the morning, I inadvertently gave myself the reward of extra time in the morning to get work done or relax. Slowly, over the weeks I built this up into a habit so now I don’t think twice about getting out of bed and into my daily morning routine.
The Power of Habit and Marketing Ethics
On a personal level, creating a habit such as setting goals is primarily beneficial.
As an aspiring marketer, the question arises whether using this information in product development and promotional campaigns is ethical from a marketer’s point of view.
I believe it is.
As a marketer, we are not truly telling people who a product or services is something that they want to buy or do, but rather, we build on the consumers existing habits.
For example, Andrew Pole’s formula created for Target is one that is a case that nearly always sparks an ethical debate. However, consider that Pole never suggested that his brand force the purchase on their target consumers. He merely suggests a way to create better-targeted and more relevant marketing from the data that Target already has available through their loyalty program.
While many feel the Orwellian aspects of “Big Brother” in scenarios like this, I prefer to think of it as companies doing the thinking for us.
If they hand us magazines with coupons for the things that we are going to be purchasing anyway, doesn’t that make life easier on us as consumers?
What Do You Think?
I would love to know what you think, so let me know your opinions in the comments.