At what point does choice become too much?
We’ve all been taught that being a leader in a category is critical to success. Just search on the phrase “industry leader” on any job-posting site to see how far this has been taken.
The argument for categorization is usually one of two: People remember leaders and/or people buy from leaders. Since we seem to have an innate ability to remember ‘the first’ in an infinite number of categories it makes sense to be #1 in something. Recalling brand #2 is difficult; Avis not withstanding.
But at some point does this fragmentation work against us? Is there a point at which the resulting ‘hyper-choice’ turns us off?
Personally – yes. I have not bought, when I thought I wanted to, because of too many options and no simple way of paring down the choices to a relevant set. It also appears to be real in the grocery store as well. Fewer options on the shelf result in higher sales.
Relevance applies to the set of choices as much as it does to any other “P”. While narrowing options is much easier to do on-line via search and tagging than it is on a shelf, it is still too feature driven (4 mega-pixel vs. 5 mega-pixel as if I care or even want to know). It is still rare to find tools that are situation or need driven. For a cool one, see www.noodletools.com.
Identifying segments based on need will require profiling, quite possibly in the Quantico sense.