Cheat Code: The moment you own it, never let it go

5 min readApr 3, 2024

By Dan Monheit shared by Mumbrella 26th march

When you can’t afford to win everywhere, don’t even try. Instead, look for the moment most worth winning and enjoy disproportionately high returns, says behavioural science expert Dan Monheit, CEO of Hardhat.

If the headline has caused Enimem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ to start playing on the little iPod inside your mind, you’re very welcome. It’s a song about owning the moment, which is incredibly relevant for brands challenging the top dog in the battle for customers.

When going up against the big guns, winning at every point of the customer journey is a fiscal impossibility, especially in this challenging economic climate. Consider a start-up telco going head to head with Telstra’s end-to-end online self-service. Or a hot new electronics retailer taking on Apple’s retail offer on one side, and JB Hi-Fi’s on the other.

However, in almost every customer journey, there’s a ‘win bigger’ moment. A point where if you win here, you can lose everywhere else and still win the customer. In other words, not all steps of the journey are created equal.

Often, the thing most worth winning on is price. For example, if you’re selling the world’s most in-demand product, such as the new iPhone 15, for $15 less than any competitor in the country, you’ll likely win the customer, no matter how poor your packaging or social media strategy is.

However, price isn’t always the answer. There are four pharmacies within three kilometres of my house. One has two 15-minute parking spots out the front. It doesn’t have the best prices, the service is lacklustre, and the branding and signage are appalling — but they get my business nine times out of ten.

Just last week, I was out for dinner with a friend who runs an orthotics clinic. He mentioned in passing that he’d turned off all of his Google advertising spend but had strangely seen no reduction in new inquiries. This is clearly not how advertising is meant to work, so I asked him what he thought was happening. “Well,” he said, “I’m not a marketing guy, but I think it might be because I’m the only person who makes orthotics in the area with 230 five-star Google reviews.”

It’s pretty clear that the ‘not really a marketing guy’ instinctively understands the power of winning bigger. Orthotics is a category that people often find themselves dropped into without notice. You never really need them until suddenly you do. As a result, most don’t even know what criteria they should be shopping by, so they head straight to Google, which is integrated with Google Maps, and type ‘Orthotics’ into the magical box.

In the sea of location-based results are dozens of businesses with between zero and 10 five-star reviews. My friend’s stands alone with 230, and that’s the one people click. He hasn’t won on price, convenience, parking or branding. He’s found the one point of his customers’ journey most worth winning (reviews) and built an incredible business around it.

From feet to fintech

New York-based Lemonade has become one of the most disruptive, fastest-growing businesses to enter the US insurance industry, in no small part due to their focus on dominating one or two moments that matter. With the help of behavioural economics Professor and board member Dan Ariely, the business identified an easy signup process and speedy payments on claims as the two places to channel their limited energy and start-up funds.

Maya, the signup bot, allows the average new Lemonade customer to sign up in around a minute, while Jim, the claims bot, routinely pays out claims in under three seconds. To truly appreciate how beneficial it can be to define your brand in especially carved-out moments, consider this. In 2017, Lemonade’s annual revenue was just $2 million. Today, it’s grown more than 50-fold to $104 million.

A little closer to home, we saw a ‘win bigger’ moment play out with our long-term client, Simply Energy. Over the years, we’d implemented dozens of changes to the website, customer onboarding journey and content that resulted in a steady stream of incremental but material improvements. By diving deep into the analytics, we ascertained that redesigning, reconfiguring and dramatically simplifying the Compare Plans page could be the ‘win bigger’ moment for accelerating customer sign-ups. Our hunch proved correct, resulting in a 70 percent lift in traffic from the Compare Plans page to checkout.

Every journey has a ‘win bigger’ moment. From interfaces to parking spaces, first orders to reorders, something will create a disproportionate bang for your buck. In fact, it might even be where the product is located, which is why Wrigley’s pays hundreds of millions of dollars a year to supermarkets to secure that spot next to the register.

Big gain hunting

To find your ‘win bigger’ moment, customer journey mapping, especially at a category level, is a great starting point. However, rather than looking for ways to lift the experience across the board (who’s got time or budget for that anyway?), try to identify the small shifts that will create the biggest difference.

If you’re an online business, a deep dive into your analytics, including your purchase funnel, is an important early step. Just remember that the data only tells us how people interact with what’s already there. There’s every chance your ‘win bigger’ moment isn’t even in the current data set, which is why intuition and empathy are the most critical but often overlooked ingredients.

Once you’ve got a sense of what your ‘win bigger’ moment might be, channel your inner Enimem and let it fly. The moment. You own it.

Dan Monheit

Dan Monheit is CEO of Hardhat.




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