The Paradox of Choice

When there are lots of choices, people tend to put more effort into making decisions and less into enjoying them. What bothers them is the possibility that, if they had chosen differently, they could have gotten something better.

paradox of choiceIn today’s world, the number of choices can by paralyzing. Author and psychologist Barry Schwartz, in his book “The Paradox of Choice”, states that any more than six choices can lead to indecision and lost sales for a company. The argument is a solid one, he says. “When there are lots of choices, people tend to put more effort into making decisions and less into enjoying them. What bothers them is the possibility that, if they had chosen differently, they could have gotten something better.”

A response on a blog from Anton Howes on Adamsmith.org – “When given the difficult choices of ‘healthcare plans’ or ‘jeans’, why can’t we employ ‘healthcare consultants’ or ‘style gurus’ to choose the best ones on our behalf? We can even choose which experts we want to place our trust in. In fact, the uncertainty creates whole new markets and industries for expert choice-makers like ‘healthcare plan consultants’, ‘style gurus’, maybe even ‘lifestyle coaches’. The possibilities are endless and unpredictable.”

The above statement certainly rings true for the meetings industry. The marketplace, with its wide range of choices in hotels, venues, and service providers, has given rise to third party planners and site selection consultants, and their business is thriving. A growing number of meeting planners opt to engage these consultants to tap into their knowledge, experience and relationships to get what they hope is the right fit for their conferences. And it saves them time and money.

A relatively new “Paradox of Choice” for meeting planners is the enormous increase in options for event technology. The market has exploded with almost 2000 companies offering some platform  to help planners streamline their processes, improve engagement for participants, maximize ROI, increase attendance, capture and analyze data to improve the quality of their events, and much, much more.

And while the resources for research are limited, and ‘gurus’ and consultants are a bit scarce, planners should explore their options when it comes to searching for technology solutions. Far too often planners go with what’s familiar. But I would argue that the company with the largest marketing budget doesn’t necessarily have the best product. There are dozens and dozens of exciting young companies that offer stellar and affordable platforms, but may lack the marketing resources to be as well known as the larger companies.

And if you need help exploring those options, you can count on The Event Guys to give you a hand. Our EventTechGuide is a great place to start.

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