Years ago, Columbia professor, Sheena Ivengar ran an interesting consumer test. She set up a “free samples” table in a super market and proceeded to test the difference between sampling six jellies Vs. sampling 24 jellies. The net result: when six jellies were presented, 40% of the shoppers stopped to sample, and 30% bought jelly. While 60% of the shoppers stopped to sample from the 24 choices, and only 3% actually bought jelly.
So we like the shopping experience, but struggle to make a decision when faced with too many options. I buy that.
So what does that have to do with Marketing Asset Management user adoption?
Users of marketing asset management systems are frequently distributed sales forces, marketing departments, franchises, retailers or local stores. They use these systems to download logos and ads and create brand-controlled, yet customizable marketing materials.
Having many options creates a great “shopping” experience and initial usage, but if too many customization options are given, over time the users may become stressed by the system. This results in fewer ads being downloaded, fewer email and direct mail campaigns being initiated, and ultimately a decrease of marketing done by your users or locations. Even worse, they may instead go outside the approved system and create materials that are not within branding standards. All this can happen simply because designing or creating the marketing materials is a taxing decision process.
When it is important that users repeatedly use an asset management system, having too many options decreases the frequency with which they use the system.
At this moment, I have no facts to prove this hypothesis, but it is something I have witnessed for the past six years working with our communications portal. I am not hopeful that I can convince a client to perform a test and share the results as this is not a measurement that marketing departments are interested in proving out. So for now, we just have to be wise marketers and consider the decision process of the user when establishing how many “jellies”, asset or options are the right amounts for an online marketing asset management system. And by all means, if usage of your asset management system is declining, consider testing the number of assets and options you provide your users. You may find that less is more.