Your Marketing Minute Newsletter

Marketing’s Winning Trifecta

"It's gotta be Big John who did the heist!" the cop exclaimed. "He had the means, the motive, and the opportunity." Classic detective show banter, right?

Consumer psychology calls this trifecta of influence Ability-Motivation-Opportunity (A-M-O).

Ability is about having the knowledge and skills to do a targeted behavior. Unfortunately marketers often hyperfocus on Ability, reflecting myopic, product-centric "if they only know…" thinking (more on "marketing myopia" here).

Motivation is the inner drive or desire that energizes taking the action. Generating Motivation requires marketing that triggers personal relevance and perceived value, which is inherently more customer-centric.

Opportunity is all about making it easy for people to do the behavior. Clearly, all three influence levers are important. But it's Opportunity that is the most overlooked.

Opportunity is at play when we eat the mediocre dessert only because it's in front of us- not because we really desire it. And when the city provides free recycling bins and curbside pickup service so it's easier to recycle. And when fast food restaurants offer the convenience of a drive-up window. And when casinos place slot machines right in our path, so it's almost impossible to not play.

For better or worse, the right opportunity can be so appealing that it overcomes a lack of motivation and leads people to find ability they didn't acknowledge before.

How are you at maximizing the Opportunity lever? Do you make it easy for people to do what you want them to do?

Moshe Engelberg, Ph.D., M.P.H.
ResearchWorks, Inc.

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