So here’s something you need to know about people.

You can have all the facts. You can point to figures, details, and data. You can try really, really hard to help. You can spend an awful lot of time explaining how this is a no brainer. And yet somehow, for some reason, they just won’t change their damn mind!

Don’t waste your time asking the obvious – there’s nothing wrong with them.

You might not like it, but once a person has formed their own idea, opinion, or worldview, they naturally become extremely reluctant to change it… even when presented with incontrovertible contrary information.

This innate resistance to change is a very human trait. In fact it’s part of our nature. In a recent study conducted at the University of South Carolina Upstate, researchers proved that we don’t like changing our minds – even when holding onto misconceptions costs money.

Changing someone’s mind is hard – and even harder once they’ve explained their stance

The study asked students to estimate box office success for various movies. The researchers then made these “futures” tradable for cash. Students were given options to reconsider based on early data returns. Amazingly, most stuck to their guns and refused to change.

Interestingly, verbalising their rationale on predictions seemed to encourage the students to become even more recalcitrant… a control group that was allowed to change without explanation was much more likely to shift their thinking based on the new data.

Trying to change worldview, is it worth it?

It must follow then that a business attempting to change a client’s worldview will likely be wasting time and money… right? Nobody wants to be told that they’re wrong – even when they are mistaken in their opinion. So, if that’s right… if presenting the facts, backing them with impartial evidence, jumping through hoops and bending over backwards to present your point… if all this gets you precisely nowhere – is the whole effort worth it?

How this affects your marketing strategy

I think it is. Take it back to marketing 101… we know how important identifying your target market is. What about if we got past identifying this as age, sex, income and lifestyle and instead identified it as understanding your target market’s worldview?

If you can do this, you can pitch products and services in a way that matches your client’s existing opinions. Your potential consumer base will be much more receptive to your offering if you don’t try to change their minds – we already looked at a great example earlier this year (something for you to remember as you find yourself downing yet another Pure over the next fortnight of long lunches and end of year agency parties!).

Matching your market’s worldview: halfway to ‘sold’

We often hear the term ‘conversion’ in relation to marketing. It implies consumers undergo some sort of radical ‘change’ as they make a purchasing decision. But that’s not really how it works. A purchase is the end result of as many ‘yes’ moments as possible:

  • Yes, I agree with your facts!
  • Yes, I agree with your opinions!
  • Yes, I see the benefits!
  • Yes, I need this!
  • Yes, I feel emotionally connected to you brand!
  • Yes, I’ll buy that!

Throw in one ‘no’ moment, and you’ll have your work cut out making a sale – if you’re able to make one at all. The perfect customer is one who agrees with you all the way – without you having to convince them.

Instead of taking pot luck and hoping that your pitch matches your market’s worldview, it’s worth taking time to discover what that worldview really is. It is much easier to sell to people who already believe what you believe and feel how you feel, than trying to convince someone they are wrong.

Key Takeaways

  • Marketing is about presenting a solution to your customers’ problems.
  • No matter how many facts you have, getting people to change their minds is incredibly difficult.
  • It’s easier to solve a problem when you share your customer’s worldview.

Begin with the easy road, identify the customers you want to reach, understand their worldview, and then tell stories that match and enhance this.


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