What Makes People Buy?

I love reading magazines, going to conferences, and attending meetings where people talk about how this technology or that technology is going to change the way we do business. Or how the launching of some new capability is going to change everything in the marketing world.

Pundits expound on the latest technology craze and how it’s going to affect the way we all live, eat and breathe. I’m not sure I qualify as a pundit or expert, or anything else for that matter, but I think technology is silly. At least it makes people think silly thoughts.

Although new technological innovations affect our lives, they have little influence on the core business and marketing concepts we need to implement. To be honest, they have little effect over what makes people buy, and that is what marketing is all about.

Let’s Keep It Simple

I may be old-fashioned, but I prefer a simple approach to almost everything. I work in this Internet environment, but my approach (and I believe it’s a successful one) relies on the fact that I boil everything down to its lowest common denominator.

Marketing, according to the Webster definition, is “an aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer.” I think that’s a beautiful description of what makes the money go round. It is the function of enticing someone to buy that makes all of the difference.

This most important message is being totally lost on most marketers today. Instead, they are getting themselves hung up on technology, specifically Internet technology and its offerings. They act as if we need completely new rules for building an effective marketing plan just because the Internet now exists.

All marketing is about the message and its delivery to the audience, and just because we’re using a new vehicle, it doesn’t mean we have to get hung up in all the trappings of this vehicle.

When TV was introduced, did it totally change the core of what marketing does? NO. You still had to put forth a compelling message, entice someone to act, and then help shorten the sales cycle. That’s marketing.

It hasn’t changed at all since Eve marketed to Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. If it happened today, Eve would still have to do her research (probably without the help of a snake), create a message targeted to her audience, refine the message, and then help close the deal. To paraphrase Forrest Gump, “Marketing is as marketing does.” And it really hasn’t changed.

Marketing Is Very Basic

Don’t get me wrong the Internet is a great tool for marketers. It gives you access to data you could have never have had before; it opens up a multitude of new approaches to your audience. But the fact is that you still have to strip it all down to get to the core approach.

Too many organizations have based their entire business model on a new-wave marketing scheme without paying attention to the rudimentary elements of their marketing plan. So the next time you feel compelled to jump into a discussion about how the paradigm has shifted or how this new widget will change the way you have to market, take a deep breath and ask how Eve would have done it.

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