When influencing behavior change, it is important engage your target audience and make positive impact on them. To achieve that, first, you need to understand what are the barriers, benefits and competition for behavior change.
Barriers are factors why your target audience will resist or reject the desired behavior. They may be real or perceived, and may be based on internal or external factors such as beliefs, skills and cultural influences. They are always from your target audience perspective.
Types of barriers could vary based on your target audience. Typical barriers are:Doubt, Resistance to change, Lack of information, Cost, Physical discomfort and Peer pressure.
There could be a number of barriers for a specific behavior and you need to identify what are relevant to your target audience. You can start with research on existing data such as journals, news, conference papers ... YouTube videos.
Then you can conduct qualitative research and you can use focus groups and personal interviews.To prioritize barriers for strategic planning, you need to conduct quantitative studies to get larger samples and you can use surveys and questionnaires.
Now that you have a list of barriers, consider each one of them and explore which of the marketing tools you can use to create, communicate, and deliver value to your target audience so that you can achieve the desired behavior.
Benefits, in contrast to barriers, are factors why your target audience would want to adopt the behavior. They answer the question “What’s in it for me?” Your audience will look for value that is equal or greater than what they need to pay for.
Typical benefits include those related to health, safety, employment, relationships, growth and development, environmental protection, and contribution to others and the community.
Similar to barriers, you need to identify benefits. You can ask several questions such as:What are some of the reasons you might consider doing this? What could someone say to you that will likely make you do this?
Now that you know your audience’s perceived benefits and what they value most from the offer, you can now develop a more strategic marketing plan and you can even include product enhancements, price and place in the marketing mix.
Then you need to prioritize. One way of prioritizing benefits is comparing the perceived benefits of the doer from the non-doers of the desired behavior. Through comparison, you gain insights into what may be important to both
Competitors are behaviors that your target audience is currently engaged in and prefer to do instead of the ones you have in mind. As social marketers, you need to develop strategies that will position your desired behavior more favorably.
Three major types of competitors are:Behaviors your audience would prefer to doBehaviors they have been doing “forever” and would have to give upInfluential people or organizations who are or opposing your desired behaviorIt’s tough when all three are present.
To identify competitors, you can use qualitative research and get the perceived benefits and costs. You can pose few questions to your target audience. For instance, if you want to influence your audience to drink tap water instead of bottled water.
You can ask them questions like:• Why don’t you drink water from the tap? What are your concerns about them?• What do you like about bottled water? • Who else encourages you to drink water from the tap?
This process may reveal several competitors, not just one. Take note that competitors may look like barriers so don’t get confused. Competitors are alternative behavior and you are not looking for barriers to adopting the behavior.
How do you beat the competition? The key is to change the ratio of benefits to costs, relative to the competition. BY:Increasing the benefits and decreasing the cost of the desired behaviorOR:Decreasing the benefits and increasing the costs of the competing behavior
You may want to analyze and organize the desired behavior relative to the competing behavior. You can strengthen your argument by stressing each of the benefits of your desired behavior as well as the high costs of the alternative behavior.
When presenting your arguments, credibility is important. Remember, you need to establish trust with your target audience in order to influence them. Verifying your sources is equally important as your data.Taking the time to understand your audience perspectives is a compassionate marketing approach.
When you see how your request looks like from their end, you will be able to remove the barriers, highlight the benefits and know your competitors well. Only then can you engage your audience and make a positive impact on them.
Ignite Behavior Change
Barriers, Benefits and Competition for Behavior Change<br />The Transformers<br />Josephine Penaga<br />February 19, 2011<br />Managerial Marketing - SUS6060_S1_SP11<br />
Reference<br />Kotler P. & Lee, N. (2009). Up and out of poverty: The social marketing solution. A toolkit for policy makers, entrepreneurs, NGO’s, companies, and governments. Wharton School Publishing. New Jersey.<br />