In research conducted among consumers, Unity Marketing identified an array of 14 different justifiers that consumers perceive as the underlying motivators driving their purchase of products they don't need. Pleasure, education, emotional satisfaction, entertainment, relaxation, beautify home or self, replace an existing item, planned purchase, stress relief, hobby, gift for self, and status are among the reasons consumers use to justify discretionary purchases. However, you can sum up the most important justifier for all discretionary purchases in a single overriding concept: to enhance the quality of life. One respondent described her motivation in buying discretionary items as, "products that help me be more myself." As this definition implies, people buy these products to improve and enhance the quality of their lives in all realms and aspects of their being.
For marketers of products consumers don't need, the marketing and branding challenge is to figure out how their brands and the products they are trying to sell make people's lives more meaningful, satisfying, and better. With that insight, marketers can present and reinforce the quality-of-life-enhancing message surrounding the product or brand. Quality-of-life-enhancing messages are powerful. They provide the kinetic energy that overcomes consumer objections and drives consumers to buy. When marketers do the hard work of providing the justifiers for their customers, it is amazing how this bolsters product sales. Justifiers overcome objections and compel the consumer to buy.
Figure 4.1: Justifiers for Buying Discretionary Products