How did Marlboro & Redbull build habits?🚬
The science of irreversible habits every product needs to learn.
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Let's go down the memory lane.
Remember your first cigarette?
How did it feel?
Remember the second time?
How did it feel?
I want you to recall that moment.
Not a smoker?
I'm sure you've had soda — Pepsi, Coke, Thumbs Up?
Gather the feeling.
Some context 🗓
Tobacco companies spend billions of dollars to sample their product. Ask a local Paan shop - How many times they get an ITC samples the new Ice-burst for free to walk-in customers? 1000s of times. Have they gone mad? Absolutely not.
So many brands invest in product sampling ✨
Sunsilk sticks free sachets on newspapers.
Amex sends free credit cards via the US post.
But, Coke / Marlboro build habits & others don’t 🤯
The answer is going to blow your mind. Every time Marlboro distributes samples, it looks at two important factors.
First, how long does the aha moment of the first trial last?
Second, what’s the typical time period between the first few purchases?
Didn’t follow what I said? ✨
Think of how fast different products become habits and a vital part of your lifestyle. Higher the speed of adoption → higher the chances of converting them into habits.
Do you chew gum?
How fast did you buy your second gum after trying it for the first time? Most addicted folks tried the gum the 1st & then 2nd, 3rd, 4th purchase of gum was within a short span from 1st purchase.
Let’s apply this to Marlboro cigarettes 🚬
Every time a first time smoker tries the cigarette, the aha moment remains for 10-12 hours. If the smoker tries another in those hours, it builds habit directionally. At one point in time however, the process becomes a habit.
But, there’s a catch.
If the smoker does not try another cigarette within the aha period of the first one, the reversal of habit occurs, resulting in no permanent habit formation.
So what can you learn from Marlboro & apply to your own product?
First, when you sample, keep the Aha period in mind.
It should be just enough before the customer makes the second purchase/consumption.
Second, instill a trigger for 2nd, 3rd & 4th purchase.
Coke does it by launching 2.5 litre bottles so there are atleast 5 consumptions to build habit. Marlboro does it with selling 10 piece packets at most retail places.
Third, identify how many purchases/ consumption instances = habit.
Go back to your analytics dashboard and understand how many times someone used the product before they started building repeat usage frequency. Optimise your first purchase for this window.
That’s all for now 💙
This is the 2nd issue of 2023 & I’m super pumped to add important perspectives to your thought process. If you love Growth Shorts, share it with your close friends. Let’s do this together.