Anybody who has been involved in the launch of a new and innovative product, such as a deodorant with a new dispensing system or the re-launch of an ice cream line, knows it can be hard to motivate consumers to act.

One of the most important things in getting consumers to try your product is to communicate the benefits your product offers. However, even if consumers are convinced that your product is right for them, there are always other forces at work preventing them from acting – e.g. concerns about taste, convenience or substantiation.

Alleviating doubts to overcome inertia

This inertia is stronger in some markets than in others. At SKIM, we understand the reasons for this effect in the markets that we serve. In some cases, inertia is a factor which is hard to overcome; while, other times inertia is caused by doubts or concerns about a product or brand which can easily be alleviated.

Maximize consumer uptake with Drivers & Barriers

Our solution ‘Drivers & Barriers’ is designed to show both sides of the story. On one hand it shows to what extent consumers are triggered by a positive benefit. On the other hand it shows what should be said to overcome their barriers. The combination delivers a forecasting instrument to determine what portion of the market can be reached by combining the right concept with benefits and reassurances, providing input into a holistic communication approach. The result of a Drivers & Barriers study is an optimal communication mix to maximize the likelihood of consumer uptake.

Drivers & Barriers is based on insight into the consumer’s choice and decision making behavior – SKIM’ core field of expertise. It demonstrates that a good idea may move and inspire people, but it takes more to make them act. The idea stresses that moving to a new situation requires the new situation to be better than the old one, but also that consumers’ concerns are addressed. That’s because moving to the new situation requires action, and it is far easier to do nothing than to take the risk.

Define your communication for new to the world products

Drivers & Barriers approach is mainly relevant in product categories where initial interest in the product or service will be high but may be misleading when defining a business case. Initial interest may by itself not be enough to ensure uptake as doubts or barriers need to be dealt with too. Trust matters and consumers want sufficient information before they act. This is why the Drivers and Barriers method is perfectly suited for:

  • Innovative, new to the world products – people may be curious but still hold back until they feel they have all the information and reassurances they need
  • New product add-ons (for instance in telecommunications) – customers may be interested, but fear the add-on could have negative consequences for their monthly bill or they are not sure why the add-on should be relevant to them
  • Healthcare products (treatments and appliances) because of a need for clinical substantiation and the fear of negative side-effects or safety issues
  • Capital investment goods because of the risk associated with the investment

Drivers & Barriers: How it works in a nutshell

  • Step 1: Identify a list of potential drivers and barriers to using your product. If there is sufficient market and consumer knowledge within your company, this can usually be done in collaboration with your marketing or product team. Alternatively, SKIM can help you uncover these drivers and barriers with our team of in-house qualitative experts who specialize in communications.
  • Step 2: The importance of each trigger and barrier is validated quantitatively. This enables you to see how much of the market possesses that trigger or barrier and which are most important for your communication efforts.
  • Step 3: Consumers who exhibit barriers to product usage will identify which reassurances help them to overcome those barriers enough to increase uptake.

Examples of Drivers and Barriers

Drivers and barriers


The end result of a Drivers & Barriers study is a thorough understanding of what prompts consumers to use your product in addition to the most crucial barriers which prevent them from further embracing your offerings.

By also focusing on the reassurances you are able to see how effective certain communications are at overcoming these barriers, ultimately increasing product trial and usage. This combination delivers a forecasting instrument to determine what portion of the market can be reached by combining the right concept with benefits and reassurances.

With this knowledge in hand, you are able to define an optimal communication strategy which can simultaneously prompt consumers to use your product while also removing the doubts which currently stand in their way.