Fresh Start Effect

🤔 Did you know…

Sales for old-school alarm clocks soar in January. Why?

It’s the beginning of a new year and people around the world feel pique motivation to make big changes in their life. No more sleeping in. No more hitting snooze on their big plans!
“Ohhh a fancy alarm clock? Add to cart!”

You may not sell alarm clocks. But if you sell products that make people’s lives better, NOW is the perfect time to run a promotion. Keep reading to learn why…

Imagine this…

It’s Thursday–you’re halfway through an 11-inch meat feast pizza.

You promised yourself you were going to start eating healthier, but yesterday you had a chocolate bar for breakfast.

You look in the mirror and have a stern talking to yourself… Must. Do. Better.

No more 11pm snacks. No more bottomless brunches.

From now on it’s home-cooked meals, superfoods, and as much spinach as you can possibly stomach.

Buuuuut… the week is nearly over and you’ve already fallen off track.

No worries. You’ll get back up on the horse and try again.

But not today. Heavens no.

You’ll start eating healthy again… on Monday.

Why are you waiting to start your health kick until Monday morning?

In today’s edition of Why We Buy 🧠, we’ll explore the Fresh Start Effect—why we have more motivation to start a new habit at the beginning of a new time period.

Let’s get into it.

The Psychology of the Fresh Start Effect 🧠

Change is hard.

(If you’ve ever tried to build a new habit or kill an unhealthy one, you already know that.)

But according to Katy Milkman, there are specific times of year when it’s easier to change.

In her book How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, Milkman introduces a psychological phenomenon called the “Fresh-Start Effect.”

The idea is simple…

There are moments in life when we feel like we can wipe the slate clean from past failures and have a fresh start–making it easier to commit to our goals.

Research shows that starting something new in landmark moments:

  • Let’s you leave your “old self” in the past
  • Help you see the bigger picture of your long-term life vision
  • Motivates you to finally make the change that aligns with that vision

* Research shows that when compared to a baseline, people are more likely to stick to their goals at the beginning of the year by 145.3%.

Inside Your Buyer’s Mind🧐

Fresh starts can be buying triggers for your ideal customers.

Certain dates in the calendar increase people’s motivation to get started with their goals–here are a few to get you started:

  • The start of a new week
  • The start of a new month
  • The start of the new year (the biggie)
  • A birthday
  • End of quarter (in the business world)

It’s January 2nd (aka the beginning of a new year and mother of all fresh starts).

Your buyers are feeling pique motivation right now.

If you want to sell more, think about when to market your thing—not just how. 

How To Apply This 🤑

Alright, so how can we apply this right now to sell more?


Use the ‘New Year’ as a trigger event

If there is one thing you can rely on in the new year it’s every man and his dog deciding that this year is going to be the year they’ll get in shape. 

Clever companies capitalize on that. 

Peloton ain’t cheap. But the smart folks over at Peloton know that potential buyers are primed and ready for a fitness binge post-Christmas-carb coma. 

And that’s why they’ve designed this ad ready for the ‘New Year, new you rush’. 


Make your product the guide and your customer the hero

What’s everybody doing on January 1st? Apart from planning their new fitness regime?

Everybody is writing their New Year’s resolutions.

If you’re not crackin’ open a fresh journal and listing down all the things you want to do (who you want to become) in the coming year, are you even ambitious?

Smart marketers see this as an opportunity.

Remember, a good brand is the guide, the customer is the hero. If you can help your buyers get to where they want to be by using your product, you’ll be on to a winner.

Look how Notion designs a template for their customers to become their *best* selves.

Retail & Hospitality

Make light of the predictability of human behavior

Great marketing is empathetic.

Brands that understand their customers–that know them–are the brands that build trust and that leads to people opening their wallets.

Joe and the Juice is a well-known Danish chain of juice bars, their secret sauce is healthy drinks, but they know it’s not all work and no play.

And sandwich boards like this make them *totally* relatable–AKA trustworthy which leads to more sales.

Service Businesses

Gamify the Fresh Start Effect

If you know everybody is starting new fitness regimes in the New Year you also know that *most* will predictably fall off the wagon by week two.

You know that. Your potential buyers know that.

So you can use that to your advantage. If you know their concern is falling off the wagon, build the solution…

Just like Rx Fitness does here. ‘New Year’s Fitness Challenge’. Making it a challenge means people are more likely to complete it.

Embrace delegation

Clever marketing predicts objections and overcomes them quickly leading to a sale.

The Short of It 💥

When matters just as much as what.

If you want people to use your product or service, tie it into the start of a new week, new month, or the new year.

Until next time, happy selling.

🐦 Your Brainy Tweetable

*When* matters just as much as *what*..

Buyers are more likely to start new habits at certain times in the year.

It’s called the Fresh Start Effect.

And smart marketers can use that to their advantage.

Tweet this now >



Wanna really get inside your buyer’s head?

When you’re ready, there are a few ways we can help:

Written By Katelyn

Katelyn Bourgoin is the CEO of Customer Camp, a 4X founder, and a cheese lover. She lives by a simple mantra: whoever gets closer to the customer wins.

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