The Paradox of Choice

The Paradox of Choice

The evidence is everywhere. In magazines. On TV. Even as you rush through the airport.

A plethora of call to actions that provide the consumer an endless variety of connection opportunities all in the name of choice.

To even question the reason and rationale behind this black hole of marketing conversion is challenging the very soul of the consumer.

And the intelligence of most marketers.

Admittedly, research is sorely needed to confirm or deny this theory, but let’s just explore shall we?

Recently, I was asked to critique changes to an advertising campaign from a well-known tourism destination. While the creative was fine…amazingly not touting anything and everything…the call to action seemed, cluttered.

Perhaps that was because it featured not only the traditional website address and phone number, but also icons for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, a blog (disguised as an RSS icon that few will understand) plus a QR code.

Never mind the fact that those social icons gave no indication on how to find the corresponding social account for the destination. Because we all know that Twitter handles are so wonderfully uniform. And let’s forget the lack of explanation as to what the consumer is suppose to do with the QR code (turns out, it went to the website, ugh).

Beyond the merciless mass of social symbols, my real issue with the ad was the lack of a clear call to action.

Or more accurately the presence of seven (7!) unique calls to action.

Look, I love choice as much as the next writer wielding a blog like a weapon, but seriously, seven options?

Oh, but Troy, the consumer needs choice.

Wrong. The consumer needs a path to complete a choice. A single, specific, direct path…created and dictated by you…that not only fulfills there needs, but also your thirst for ROI.

And you wonder why ROI is difficult for your feeble mind to decode. You have seven potential possibilities! Hell, we need a rocket scientist, not a marketing guru, to figure out that little slice of complex algorithmic ecstasy.

If your want people to order a visitor guide, then give them a single, direct path to complete that action.

If you want Joe Traveler to book a hotel room, then give him a number to call.

If you want more consumers to engage with your Twitter profile, then by all means, slap that bird icon all over that ad.

Drop the rest of those CTAs.

It is a fallacy to think that the consumer will notice, react and respond to your ad via multiple engagement points you have generously splattered all over your creative. More likely, you have a single, fleeting moment of clarity to connect and convince the consumer to perform that next, critical step in the path to conversion.

Choose that path carefully.

It might be your only shot.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.