ADAPT Framework

2019 Jan 17
By Michal Plevka

What is the ADAPT Framework?

ADAPT framework is a step-by-step guide how to approach marketing projects. It’s an essential tool to help marketers use insights from psychology and behavioral economics to achieve their goals - whether it is higher sales, better conversion, more clicks and many others.

It took us years to develop the framework. We tested it in dozens of projects for large and small companies in various industries ranging from telco, banking, insurance to ecommerce. Now we want to share it with you.
So what does ADAPT mean? The letters stand for:

  • Analyse the Decision Making Context,
  • Drivers of Behavior,
  • Choice Architecture,
  • Perception of price and product and
  • Test and Iterate.

Let's dig a little bit deeper into each of them.

Analyse the decision making context

Maybe you've heard of behavioral economics. Or even tried some of the principles yourself - and maybe it worked, maybe not. We see companies doing the same mistake over and over again when trying to apply these principles - they are too fast.
Excited by the new insights, they jump straight at designing solutions.

Why is it bad? Well, because they first need to find out what they are designing for. What is the behavior they want to change. And this is what A helps you to do.

The first thing we do in every project we engage in is a Behavioral audit - the analysis of the decision-making context. This audit gives you answers to some crucial questions without which you cannot design a good solution.

There is much more to it, but the most important question you have to answer before designing any solution is:

“Why aren’t my customers doing what I want them to do?”

At first sight pretty straightforward, but it is not. Nearly none of the companies we have worked with over the years asked this questions. Instead, they ask a different one:

“How can I motivate my customers to do what I want them to do?”

This question traps you in a never ending race to increase motivation by lowering prices, adding features, offering special deals.

Of course motivation is important but our approach first looks at what besides motivation is holding your customers back. Could it be a lack of information, some hidden fear or uncertainty, or the feeling it is simply too strenuous to do?

Once this is clear and we know what issue we are solving at each step of the decision-making process we can start designing solutions. That’s what letters D, A and P are for.

Drivers of behavior change

Once you know what behavior you need to target and the reason why your customers don't do it, you can pick an intervention. When you know where the problem lies, you can choose the right principle to shape your customers’ decisions.

We start with Drivers of Behavior - behavioral principles that tap right into our internal (de)motivations. Essentially, changing a few words in your communication can make it more persuasive just because it targets the right subconscious process. This way you can persuade your customers much easier.

There are dozens of Drivers of Behavior and here are a few that are very important:

Uncertainty, Perceived Effort, Social Proof, Reciprocity, Scarcity, Loss Aversion, Concrete and Specific.

Choice Architecture

The second step is the right Choice Architecture. Our behavior is influenced not only by our motivations or capabilities but also by our environment. In fact the environment influences our decisions and behavior much more than we think.

The way we present choices, catch attention and work with the environment is crucial for the success of your message or offering. Only by understanding the natural cognitive processes you can change the context in a way that encourages your customers to do exactly what you need them to do. Simple changes in the decision making context can make your customers buy more, click more, engage more. Some of the tools you can use to change the Choice Architecture are:

Friction, Choice and Information Overload, Salience, Defaults

Perception of Price and Product

The last category of behavioral principles is the one related to the Perception of Price and Product. It is a unique set of tools especially useful for marketers.

It turns out that people cannot evaluate products and prices in a vacuum, they need a context. These principles are powerful tools which let you shape the context of your offering and thus influence the perceptions of quality, fairness or attractiveness of your offer.

Using well chosen words to describe your product can easily boost it’s attractiveness or adding a seemingly illogical options to your offering can increase demand for the one you want to sell. These simple and inexpensive interventions can help you achieve unexpected results. Some of the tools we use are:

Perception of fairness, Decoy, Middle option, Anchoring, Power of free, Framing

Test and Iterate

The final step of every behavioral intervention in every project should be testing. You can have great hypotheses and great ideas but you can never be sure which one will perform best if you don’t test them. After all, we are still dealing with humans.

Testing is crucial but can be tricky. A solid testing methodology is important, otherwise you might end up with misleading and wrong results.

So, there you have it. The most comprehensive behavioral framework for marketers yet. A step-by-step guide to all your marketing endeavors. It will guide you through the behavioral audit, help you design solutions and remind you of testing.

Try it and your view of marketing will never be the same again.

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