In my business life, I’m constantly analyzing trends and the people who unwittingly conform to them. By the nature of what I do, I often get a ring-side seat, and sometimes it’s amusing to witness the irrational purchasing decisions people make.
We need to stop thinking our customers are rational. Customers aren’t rational at all, and they certainly aren’t making purchasing decisions based on your product being empirically better.
On any given day I can turn on the TV and see three different cosmetic companies claiming their products are better than the rest. Better doesn’t work because people are numb to better.
Now, cool. Cool sells. Cool is how most best-selling products got to be best-selling products.
Apple is hands-down the king of this concept. There are a million digital music players in the world, but iPod sets the standard because of cool.
Who among us really needs an iPad? I’m typing this blog post on an HP netbook that is light and convenient and cost me $99. Not only does Apple do cool better than anyone else – they do it at a premium.
- Not a gamer? You probably still have a Wii. You can do Yoga on it! Cool!
- Gamer? Then you probably have a Playstation 3 or an X-box. Because you’re too cool for Nintendo.
- Remember when they relaunched the Volkswagen Beetle? That car is one of the most ridiculously designed machines ever. But so cool.
E-bay isn’t what it is today because it’s a better shopping service. E-bay is what it is because the early adopters to the service were drawn in by the promise of finding (cool) obscure items that make them look hip among their peers.
Etsy is the new E-bay. Buy and sell all you want, but any product sold on Etsy must be hand-made or vintage chic. Etsy takes E-bay to a whole new level of cool.
Take a break from thinking about why it’s only logical that people buy from you. The most successful marketing messages go for the gut. And sometimes, this means stepping back and facing the fact that you’re just not that cool.