by Marcia Yudkin
"People buy on emotion and justify their purchase with logic." A new book contributes depth and currency to this long-accepted truth about marketing and sales. Trading Up: The New American Luxury, by Michael Silverstein and Neil Fiske, discusses particular emotions now motivating people to buy high-priced products, sometimes products that appear out of sync with the buyers' financial resources.
1. Taking Care of Me. Overstressed people may feel they deserve products and services that pamper them, and that help them feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Think, for instance, of day spas, providing a one-day luxury vacation for body and spirit.
2. Connecting with Friends, Mates and Family. In today's increasing anonymous world, people will spend serious amounts of money to attract, maintain and nurture family and friends or a romantic partner. Dating services, cosmetic surgery, gourmet take-home meals and nothing-but-the-best pet treats fall into this category.
3. Questing. Consumers today appreciate adventure, learning, mastery and fun and are willing to pay top dollar to dream about and experience those qualities. Adventure travel is the most obvious example of this, as are amateur chef schools and high-end yoga or meditation retreats.
4. Individual Style. High-priced products often help buyers express their personal taste, differentiate themselves from others and demonstrate their sophistication. Here branding becomes key, a way for buyers to show their alignment with certain values.
Silverstein and Fiske add that today's consumers are skeptical of marketing smoke and mirrors and demand true quality and functionality from premium products and services.
Although nearly all of the examples discussed in the book involve consumer products, some of the above motivators apply in business-to-business settings as well, particularly when your target market is executives or business owners.
Consider referring to the above motivators in headlines, images and bullet points. For instance:
* Don't you deserve a repair service at your beck and call? ("Taking Care of Me")
* Join the hard-driving team that understands you have another crew that matters at home. ("Connecting with Friends, Mates and Family")
* Think big - dare to plan for unfettered growth! ("Questing")
* The ultimate badge of social responsibility. ("Individual Style")
If you can appeal to the above motivators in your sales copy and marketing strategies and back that up with genuine substance, you'll inspire zealous customer loyalty and earn a bigger share of buyers' discretionary income.
Marcia Yudkin <[email protected]> is the author of 6 Steps to Free Publicity and 10 other books. She runs a private member site, MarketingforMore.com, which supports business owners who are growing their businesses. Learn how to avoid the most common pricing mistakes in her free report, "Charge More & Get It," available from http://www.marketingformore.com/survey.htm .