What one person calls a lifestyle luxury another might call a
An automobile purchase is highly dependent upon demographic factors. For example, if a person lives in a rural area, owning a car may be an absolute necessity, whereas for the city dweller well
A person's value system influences purchase decisions.
Let's look more closely at how a consumer's value system, her individualized judgment, and her self-identity influence her perception of her own discretionary spending.
In the matrix, utilitarian purchases are high in physical gratification and low in extravagance. These extras in life offer some materially measurable benefit or improvement to the consumer. Functionality and practicality play an essential part, usually allowing the consumer to do something that could not be done before. Implicit in the definition of the discretionary utilitarian purchase is the concept of a trade-up from the necessary to the improved, more highly functioning utilitarian item. One respondent
Consumers say they achieve a feeling of well-being from the purchase of these life-enhancing objects. Call it empowered ownership. As compared with buying a service to perform a similar function—say a carpet cleaning business to steam the carpets—consumers prefer ownership of the means or the tools (e.g., the steam vacuum) that will allow them to achieve their goal. Here is how one consumer explained her purchase decisions: "Products are easier and more
Being able to "do it yourself" is a powerful motivator in the purchase of a utilitarian product. Suddenly you can achieve things you never could achieve before. You are more accomplished, more productive, and have more time and money to
Let's look more closely at how Ronco Inventions sells its rotisserie machine using a 30-minute infomercial. It is
Many products are sold solely on product features (e.g., this blender blends better than the other blender) and benefits (e.g., if you use this
Go beyond product features and benefits to life-transforming attributes. Create fantasies and show how the product fulfills them.
Life Transformations through a Small Kitchen Appliance
Ron Popeil, founder of Ronco Inventions, has been called the "
The infomercial is a tutorial in marketing and selling utilitarian products that nobody really needs. Through a simple presentation of information, supported with
The positioning strategy for the grill combines product features with product benefits. However, what sells the grill is the life-transforming value the grill bestows on the owner, not features or benefits.
According to our research, people craft fantasies—sometimes very elaborate ones—about their purchases. They know what their purchases will feel like, what they will look like, how the acquisition of particular products will transform their lives and make them better, more successful,
Features: Directly observable, physical characteristics
Black and white
size(demonstrated with comparison to toaster oven)
Quality construction (demonstrated with
Cooks all kinds of meats (e.g., chicken,
turkey, ribs, pork loin, rib roast, steaks, fish, lamb)
Under $100 retail
Comes complete with accessories, recipes, instructional video, heating disk
Benefits: Attributes that are the result of consumers using the product
Saves electricity (uses 1200 watts just like a hair dryer)
Saves time (less time to cook meats; 12 minutes per
poundcompared with 20 minutes in oven)
Cooks entire dinner with warming tray for two side dishes
Best-tasting meats, crispy on outside, juicy on inside
Fat melts out of meats to make them healthier
Can have best-tasting meat simply and easily
Cooks premium meats like a professional
Values and Experiences: Personal values, beliefs, feelings, and experiences that strongly motivate the consumer to buy
"Hardworking people want to spend money on something that will last a lifetime." Grill becomes an essential part of your life conveying all its benefits (e.g., savings in energy; good, more healthful food; high quality; saved time) to the owner throughout his or her lifetime. Buy it and your life is instantly transformed.
When you serve food from the grill, your guests will be amazed and give you "applause" (as the audience applauds Ron). They will admire you, believing you cook as well as a professional. You will be a cooking "hero."
"This machine is my new husband." Ron's cohost makes this breathless statement that is not explained, but presented for the audience to figure out. To me it implies that this machine grills better than my husband, helps me in the kitchen more than my husband, does work for me unlike my husband, and gives unconditional support better than my husband. It's a weird statement, but it really underscores the message of life transformation through the appliance.
Gives you a nonstress life. Easy cook-at-once meals without work; no need to be in the kitchen doing the hard work; you can be with guests. The grill does all the work for you. An audience member says, "So few products make your life more convenient." Several mentions are made of using the grill in RVs, suggesting that with this appliance you can achieve an RV-vacation lifestyle.
Fantasies about how the product will fill a missing aspect of one's life fire the imagination.
A brand or product platform describing the features, benefits, and life-transforming values and experiences gives marketers and advertisers the insights needed to touch customers' hot
Eric Schulz, in his book
The Marketing Game
, makes the assumption: "Consumers are logical. If you say something that makes sense, they will believe you." WRONG! This is
Sell the sizzle.
The prime motivator of desire is rooted in passion, not logic.
Although the Glamourous ad failed to pull me in, water imagery is a recurring theme in advertising fantasy building. During focus groups where we studied consumers' motivations in buying things they don't need, participants were asked to clip ads and photographs from magazines that best exemplify products that transform their lives. They clipped pictures that talked deeply to them about their personal fantasies. Repeatedly,
Fantasy branding can extend a franchise. At its root, consumer product branding is all about sparking a consumer fantasy. Branding that goes only as far as brand features and benefits will be relegated to the waste dump of consumer brands. Brands that have life and vibrancy, that really speak to the customer, do so on an emotional plane. Coke, Disney, Chanel, Calvin Klein—all truly great brands—have harnessed the left-brain power of features and benefits with the transforming magic of right-brain emotion to craft an identity, personality, and value system that consumers can really accept.
Consumer product branding is all about sparking a consumer fantasy.
Even in the realm of utilitarian purchases, there is opportunity for marketers to take their products to a new level. The Rubbermaid brand comes immediately to mind as one that understands how to communicate with its target market at an emotional level, as well as on a product features and benefits level. Rubbermaid means household organization. Like "Cleanliness is
Let Them Eat Cake: Marketing Luxury to the Masses - As well as the Classes
Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping--Updated and Revised for the Internet, the Global Consumer, and Beyond
Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience
Priceless: Turning Ordinary Products into Extraordinary Experiences