Status Quo Bias

A preference for the maintenance of one's state of affairs.


Despite our quest for novelty, and our reluctance to leave something that we started incomplete, humans usually prefer not to change what we have or the way we do things.


People prefer the status quo to exerting the energy to act. Marketing masters can use this to their advantage, presenting the desired behaviors as the default or the path of least resistance.

People are also driven by the fear of loss. If a person tries something new and does not like it, they feel they've given up the previous product or service that made them happy. Sticking with what they know guards against this potential loss.


Potential Customers don't like change if they have invested a lot of time, effort, or money into a project, product, or cause. Having sunk all those resources into it, they are reluctant to walk away.


Another reason may simply be habit or convenience. Once a person is used to doing something, it can easily become second nature-something they do with little thought or consideration.


Ways to use the status quo bias in your marketing…

Frame the choice you want your customers to make as the standard one-the one that is typically chosen.

Position the desired customer action as popular and attractive.

Have the path of least resistance lead directly to what you want your customers and prospects to do.

Make it easy for customers to do what you want them to do, and harder for them to do what you don't want them to do.

Remove points of friction that might interrupt or derail your customer from completing an action you want them to take.

Carefully consider your defaults. Because no design is neutral, make sure your defaults favor your marketing goals.

Precheck desired options.

When communicating with customers, include the number of years a customer has been with your company.

Have inertia work in your favor. Make "doing nothing" actually result in the behavior you seek.

Create "sticky" products or situations. For example, banks should focus on getting checking account customers, and subscription companies should strive to get a credit card on file for auto renewal.


You can tap status quo bias to help bolster customer loyalty and retention…

Remind people of how long they've relied on your product or service, and how many years they've invested in the relationship with your company.

Point out to them that remaining with you is easy, and requires no additional effort.

Suggest that switching to a competitor could leave them feeling dissatisfied and missing the convenience you offer.


Overcome status quo bias by providing a strong reason or a compelling incentive to act.


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