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Hummer of a Deal—Creating Want

What percentage of Americans do you think require roughly four tons* of SUV to complete their daily errands and weekly travels? Can the chauffeurs of kids’ soccer teams be hauling that much equipment? Does the pod of H2s beached at the local Starbucks represent brave adventurers who have traversed far, across wild terrain to get their caffeine fix? Are hungry shoppers buying so much at Whole Foods (Yes, indeed, I’ve seen them there) that they need a Hummer to drive it all home? Or, maybe the drivers just live in really rough neighborhoods.

Mmmmm….no. The Hummer is not about need; it’s about want. The marketing geniuses at General Motors have tapped into our barely suppressed anger, unleashed the aggression lurking in our passive-aggressive natures and delivered the answer to that deep-seated need for our very own personal tank. Admit it: At one time or another, you’ve sat in traffic and fantasized about downshifting and driving over the tops of the cars in front of you, passing whatever the blockage and getting back on the road to freedom.

People don’t need a Hummer. They want the Hummer. They want what it says about them. They want the big impact. They want the power.

What they want are not the features, but the benefits—the intangibles.

No matter how much or how little someone may need your product or service, they commit to buy when you create want for it. While this may go against every fiber of logic in your brain, it is true. You may have convinced yourself that an avalanche of features and facts about how extraordinary your product or service is can’t fail to persuade the perspective customer. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Even the most utilitarian or industrial products entice you by creating want. Some appeal to your need to be desirable. (Remember the girly calendars for tools? Every mechanic wanted to think he could attract those babes!) Others make you feel important by showing how much of your valuable time they will save. Some products promise to release your suppressed inner artist. Why else would a workhorse word processing program automatically install, in addition to standard fonts, such an array of decorative fonts and include drawing tools?

Many of us resent feeling “sold” by promotions, but the reality is that we are. As sentient beings, we make our choices on more than logic. Many smart people believe they don’t need that marketing “fluff” because their clients will buy simply because the product or service delivers what it promises. They usually tell me this over their Razr phone or text me on their Blackberry® as they get into the BMW….or Hummer.

*The H2 weighs in at 8600 GVWR and the H3 tilts the scales at 5850 GVWR, according to the official Hummer web site, http://www.hummer.com/#/AMERICAS/us/en-us/.

Next Issue:

"That reminds me of a story…": Engaging Your Audience

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ALLE, Houston, TX 77006.

 

 

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