More vs. enough

Lesley reminds us of Herzberg’s work on hygiene.

It’s not just theory, it’s a vitally important marketing concept. It’s easy to believe that joy lives on a simple curve. If you give me more of what I want, you give me more joy.

If one baseball game is good, season tickets are better. If $300 an hour for consulting is good, $400 is better.

Improved = more.

It turns out, though, that there isn’t just one curve, there are two. The second one is about hygiene. Not just being clean, of course, but being in an environment in which certain requirements are met. All the farm-fresh groceries in the world won’t make you happy if your kitchen is filled with bugs. A high-paying job that delivers a screaming boss, no job security and a home life fraught with tension isn’t a stable place for most people. Not because the money isn’t there, but because basic "hygiene" needs aren’t being met.

We see this with computer hardware and software (crashing is a hygiene issue). We see it with thrift stores for food (freshness, or the appearance of it, is more important than money for many people). And we see it with every human resource issue.

Next time you try to grow market share, while it may be tempting to lower price or offer more features, perhaps it’s worth considering addressing unfixed hygiene issues instead.