Why We Buy

Marketers need to continually improve their knowledge of buying behaviors. Basic trends in consumer buying patterns are not sufficient to determine all the underlying reasons why people buy.

Behavioral science can be helpful in determining customers thought processes. It can provide insight on positioning a company’s products and services in the minds of the consumer.


A form of mind positioning is selective perception. Positioning is what you do in the mind of the consumer; meaning the position of the product or service. In this concept, we are not just talking about positioning the product or service we are positioning the consumers “mind” to respond to the product or service. To get into the mind of the consumer, the marketer has to present the information in a manner in which to trigger their selective perception.


Selective perception is the personal filtering we use to see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear. Consumers are bombarded with too many messages to pay equal attention to each and every one so we pick and choose according to our own needs. Selective perception can be used by marketers to target and influence a consumer to consider its product or service.


The consumers selective perception is triggered when they notice something they are interested in. You become self aware of selective perception when you suddenly notice more of what you are currently thinking about and wondering why you had not noticed it before. For example, when you are interested in buying a new car or truck or just purchased one, suddenly you notice all the exact same models on the road.


Selective perception works in everyone’s mind. If the consumer’s current state of mind does not include [...]

7 Powerful Ingredients

Marketing is a serious business discipline. People are not born marketers. It is a discipline that can be learned. But it takes the right mix of talent, time and effort.


Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite authors and in his book “Outliers” the recurring theme is the “10,000-Hour Rule”. The rule is that the key to success in any field is a matter of practicing it for a total of 10,000 hours or more. Just ask any Olympic Gold Medalist what they did in their spare time.


Edward S. McKay, author of The Marketing Mystique describes the many ingredients in profiling a master marketer.


Here’s what I believe the 7 most powerful ingredients are:

An unwavering commitment to marketing: 10,000 hours or more.
An entrepreneurial spirit and natural innovator.
Refined business judgement.
A master of the risk/results relationship.
Soundness of character and the personality to sell ideas, inspire action and elicit cooperation.
A combination of analytical and creative abilities; a right-brain, left-brainer.
A well-rounded understanding and appreciation of the functions of finance, legal, accounting, information technology, procurement, administrative services, human resources, consumer behavior and sales.

Disney’s Details

One of the greatest challenges in today’s competitive business environment is to continue to raise the bar. Marketers need to pay incredible attention to the details.

How do you raise the bar in branding and marketing? By finding and following great examples.

In Tom Connellan’s book “Inside the Magic Kingdom: Seven Key’s to Disney’s Success”, he shares examples about how Disney continues to raise the bar. Two of my favorite examples are about the horse-head hitching posts and 23-karat gold leaf paint.


The horse-head hitching posts that line Main Street at Disney have wear points from daily use and the posts get stripped down and repainted each night. In order to be painted and completely dry by the time the park opens the next day, the actual starting time for the work to be performed is determined by the temperature and humidity conditions.


The second example is about the 23-karat gold leaf paint on the carousel. Disney painted the carousel with 23-karat gold leaf paint, not just regular gold leaf paint, but 23-karat! The kids and parents certainly can not tell the difference and neither can most cast members. But the cast members know it is 23-karat gold leaf paint and it serves as an important symbol. The guests are the true gold and even though the cleaning of the carousel is not a pleasant job, the cast members are reminded of the real gold, the guests, and clean up becomes more worthwhile.

Ask for Testimonials

Testimonials are one of the most powerful and effective, low cost marketing tools available. You should have testimonials on your website and in your advertising and marketing materials. When potential customers see testimonials, especially from someone they can personally relate to, they will gain confidence in you.


Don’t be remiss or shy about asking your customers for a testimonial when they have expressed a high level of satisfaction with your product or service.



I recommend a couple ways to obtain testimonials:


You can show respect for your customers time by offering to write it for them and then provide them with a draft so they can review it and approve it.
You can utilize the services of a consulting expert that offers Customer Experience Interviews.


Be careful about using testimonials that only display a person’s first name or show it as generic such as: “from a satisfied client”. While the testimonial very well may be legitimate, the consumer will likely think it is unreliable or fake. Photos are powerful images to convey emotion and credibility so I highly recommend you ask for a photo to accompany the testimonial.


Testimonials are more believable than your own advertising so utilize them as often as possible.