The Zone of Indifference


Has anyone sent you an unexpected gift?

It leaves an impression.

It works in business, too.

In fact, sending unexpected, personalized gifts to cold prospects has proven to drive us 5x more appointments than just with cold calling.

Why? Because it gets them out of what I call “The Zone of Indifference”.

Let me explain.

Take your entire target market and lay their level of satisfaction with their current solution, the solution you’re trying to sell, your product or service, and lay it on a normal distribution curve. It looks like a bell curve.

On the faaaar end of one side, you have customers who are very satisfied with their current solution.  These are the customers who not only enjoy great value with their current product or service, in many ways, they’re so happy that they promote the company, and the products / solutions they provide, to other people without solicitation. They love their current solution, and they want others to love it as well. From a Net Promoter, or NPS, perspective, they’re what they call “Promoters”.

At the other far end of the bell curve, you have customers who are very unhappy with their current solution, and they’re in the market actively looking for other options. These are your motivated buyers. These are the people who you’re going to capture through inbound channels, if you do your inbound marketing properly. These are going to be people who are on Google searching with bottom of the funnel keywords, downloading e-books and white papers,  on social media asking their network for recommendations, so on and so forth. If you’re doing inbound properly, these are people you’re going to capture through those means.

From an NPS perspective, they’re what they call detractors. They’re defecting from their current solution, and they’re in the market looking for something else.

What’s left is everyone else in the middle. This is the area I call “The Zone of Indifference”.

zone of indifference

These are the customers who are neither very satisfied nor very unhappy. In other words, they’re just generally happy with the solution they currently have to the point where they’re not actively spending any consideration on it. The solution they have works, and they don’t think about it that much. As such, making a switch is a low priority, so the topic just sits somewhere in the back of their minds, and they don’t act on it.

It’s important to note that this is the biggest section of the bell curve:

zone of indifference

I use MailChimp as an email marketing platform, and they have a lot of features that meet my needs, but there are some features I wish they had, such as better automation functionality. With that said, with MailChimp, I’m able to get the job done that I need to get done, and the switching costs are a bit high for me, so I figure, “Why change?” But at the same time, I’m not actively promoting the MailChimp brand or the platform to anyone. I’m not wearing my MailChimp t-shirt that they sent me out around, but on the other hand, I’m not so unhappy that I’m shopping for another email marketing provider.

If were to find another email marketing provider who had all the features I was looking for, and I was convinced the switching cost was low relative to the value I’d receive, then I’d be inclined to make that change. But I’m not looking for it, and if the solution does exist out there, I don’t know about it, so I’m going to stay put. For now, I’m in the zone of indifference, like a vast majority of your target customers. That’s what “The Zone of Indifference” is.

Maybe your company’s next growth opportunity exists in the “Zone”.  And if so, what are you doing to initiate value-added conversations with the businesses that exist there?

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Published by Corey Quinn

Father, B2B Marketer, Lifelong Learner

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