in Business, Marketing

Who doesn’t know the childhood story of Goldilocks and the three bears. To remind those who might have forgotten, it’s the story of a little girl named Goldilocks who finds a house owned by three bears – the papa bear, the mama bear and the baby bear. Each bear has their own preference of food and beds. After testing all three examples of both items, Goldilocks determines that one of them is always too much in one extreme (too hot or too large), one is too much in the opposite extreme (too cold or too small), and one is “just right”.

The Goldilocks principle stems from the above story and states that something must fall within certain margins instead of the extremes. In simple words, it means something that is “just right.”

Ultimately, what this principle tries to state is that the middle matters and not the extremes.

goldilocks principle

How do we apply is to modern day internet-based businesses? Let’s take an example of a travel site.

Suppose a visitor, say her name is Goldilocks, lands on your site and is checking for flights between Mumbai and Delhi. She filtered her searches according to prices, picked a price band and had a look at a couple of airlines. She also spent some time having a look at hotels in Delhi. Maybe she even added a booking to her cart but never really went ahead with the payment. So, after all the time spent, she did not make the purchase.

What information can the travel website have? 

They’ll know where is Goldilocks probably travelling, what dates, what kind of hotels she is looking at and maybe even her preferred airline. What would happen if the travel website just sits with that information or maybe drops an email, say, 24 hours later. There is a high probability that Goldilocks already had a look at a competitor and made her purchase.

Today, the world is moving really fast. An opportunity lost is someone’s opportunity gained. As the travel website, what could you do?

Think what would be the best time to get in touch with Goldilocks about the brilliant offer that you have for her. Right Now! She needs to received the offer before she shops for a better offer from a competitor, not tomorrow using a mass mail marketing campaign. Most companies focus on broad consumer segments while designing their marketing campaigns. This will ultimately result in lower conversions. Goldilocks, today, needs a highly customized, personalized and relevant email delivered precisely when she leaves the site so that her attention can be gained again.

Using real-time data can be a very powerful tool and reaching the right person at the right time can assure you the conversions that you are looking for. Imagine how much better the chances are for the conversion if Goldilocks is offered a 10% discount at that very moment when she leaves, or bonus airmiles on her favorite airline.

In this new-era, real time is the right time and that’s what the Goldilocks principle is today.