System 1 vs. System 2

As far as I’m concerned the key to developing an edge in marketing lies in our understanding of the subtle differences between System 1 and System 2.

These are states of mind.

System 1 is the default state. It’s what activates when you encounter anything. It’s emotional and irrational.

System 2 is the analytical state. You want to believe you bought your home using System 2 (even though you likely did it with System 1). System 2 is lazy as hell, which is partly why we use it so little even though we have every intention to do so.

And System 1 and 2 can fool even the most well-prepared individual.

Here is my story from this morning.

I used to use my wife’s Starbucks app for points. Last week I created my own account.

Starbucks app uses the heck out of gamification. The message states I’m x points to Gold status:

Starbucks app gamification

I don’t really know what all that means but one benefit of gold status is that Starbucks waives the $0.52 fee when you get a refill on standard coffee. System 2 would scoff at this deal because I get a refill once every 60 days (2 months). At that rate I’ll be saving $3.12 a year.

But let’s look at my actual behavior: this morning I was planning to make a run and asked my wife what she wanted. She wasn’t sure so I nudged her to get a fancy drink. Why? Because my subconscious is dying to get to the magical 300. I’m wiling to waste money over coffee I would not normally get so I can get 20 points closer to a made up number. And I’ve been behaving this way ever since I downloaded the app.

What is going on? System 1 has taken over the asylum.

Don’t laugh. It’s taken over your head too.

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