Imagine this …
You’ve just secured your ticket for a big conference. After nearly two years of watching virtual webinars in your sweatpants, you finally get to travel and hang out with other marketing nerds IRL. Hurray!
The conference is in sunny San Diego and there are lots of big-name speakers—Snoop Dogg, Martha Stewart, and Marie Forleo just to name a few.
You arrive at the conference ready to learn and connect. You expect it to be good, but it totally exceeds your expectations. Every talk is outstanding and loaded with actionable tips. The venue is gorgeous. And the networking events are super fun. These are definitely your people.
It’s an action-packed 3-day event. You meet loads of awesome people, but there’s one person you’re dying to connect with. On the final day of the conference, you spot him in the lobby as you’re checking out. After giving yourself a pep talk, you muster your courage to go introduce yourself.
The two of you immediately hit it off. He says he’s got an idea for how you could work together. You’re just about to exchange contact info when his Uber arrives. You promise to get in touch and then watch him ride off. When he’s out of view, you start jumping up and down with excitement. This is a BIG deal.
On your way to the airport, you can’t stop smiling. You’re strategizing about what to say in your first email to your new friend when suddenly the car screeches to a halt and you hear a loud “POP!”. The driver took a corner too fast and got a flat tire. You try to get another Uber, but it’s rush hour and nothing is available for 45 minutes. By the time you finally get to the airport, you’ve missed your flight.
You’re so annoyed. You’ll need to spend an extra night in San Diego and fly the red-eye the next morning.
When you finally land at your local airport the next day, you’re tired and cranky.
You switch your phone out of airplane mode and to your delight there’s an email from the guy you met at the conference. He found your contact through the conference’s networking app and wants to schedule a follow-up call to chat about collaborating—you’re over the moon! This could be a game-changer.
You grab your luggage and excitedly head to the airport arrivals area where your friend is waiting to drive you home. Your friend asks, “How was the conference?”
What do you say?
In today’s edition of Why We Buy, we’re exploring Peak-End Rule – why we remember or judge an experience based on how we felt at the peak and end moments.
Let’s get into it.
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The Psychology of Peak-End Rule 🧠
The peak-end rule is a psychological heuristic that changes the way we recall past events. Studies show that people judge an experience largely based on how they felt at its peak—its most intense point—and at its end, rather than based on the total sum of the whole experience. The effect occurs whether the experience is pleasant or unpleasant.
If you’ve ever visited an amusement park, what part do you remember best? The time spent waiting in line or the exhilarating roller coaster ride? That’s the Peak-End Rule in action.
Inside Your Buyer’s Mind 🧐
Your buyers don’t have the capacity to remember everything. Human brains have evolved to only keep the memories that are most likely to aid our survival. We remember the most painful and pleasurable moments of experiences and the end. This helps us to avoid unpleasant moments in the future or seek out positive ones again.
As marketers, we can leverage the Peak-End Rule by carefully crafting our buyer’s experiences with our brand.
How To Apply This 🤑
Identify Existing Peaks
Start off by analyzing the important touchpoints buyers already have with your brand. What are the emotional highs and lows of your customer experience? What are the peak moments of your sales demo? Your live events? Your post-purchase experience? Identify existing peaks along your customers’ buying journey and consider how customers feel in those moments.
Create Positive Peaks
Look for opportunities to create positive peaks that buyers will remember. These peaks can be bigger things—like offering them a surprise discount at checkout—or small things like using a customer’s name in presentations or giving them a shoutout on social media celebrating their win.
Olipop’s CX team are masters at creating peak moments for customers. Look at Eli’s tweet to see how they went above and beyond to deliver a bright spot during a very difficult time for one of their customers.
End on a High Note
The final moments of an experience are critically important if you want people to remember it fondly. Look for opportunities to turn what could be a mundane ending into a memorable one. That could mean adding a free gift to a customer’s order or ending your keynote talk with a big laugh.
For a personal example, my husband is a chef who hosts unique catering experiences where everything is cooked on fire. There are lots of peak moments in his culinary performance, like when he throws the steaks directly on the charcoal for a final sear or when douses peaches with rum and sets them ablaze. That said, the last 30 minutes of the night is spent cleaning up—boring! Rather than simply packing up and leaving, he asks guests to close their eyes and then surprises them with lit sparklers. While they’re waving their sparklers in the air he takes their photo and sends it to them later with a heartfelt thank you note. That final photo acts as a memento of a wonderful evening.
Creating a wow-worthy ending doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate. Even something simple like handing out $0.25 sparklers can leave a lasting impression.
The Short of It 💥
Your customers’ memories are selective. They typically only remember the peaks—good and bad—and the ending of most experiences.
When you carefully craft a buying journey with positive peaks and an emotional ending, customers remember. And they’re much more likely to reward you with 5-star reviews and gushing testimonials.
Wanna really get inside your buyer’s head?
There are a few ways I can help:
- Get explosive clarity about what works with buyers by learning how to conduct 1:1 Clarity Calls (2000+ happy students)
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- Book a 1:1 strategy call with Katelyn and get the answers you need to get unstuck and move forward with confidence