INDUCING CONSUMERS TO BUY
Marketing is essentially about bringing out behavioral change in the consumer. Force them out of contentment and complacency, so that they go out and buy yet another shoe or diamond or car or shampoo. Brands feed on insecurity, jealousy, pride and arrogance, on the human desire for certainty, validation and approval.
At one time, selling was all about satisfying the functional needs of people. People sold salt, they sold horses and donkeys, they sold pots and pans, electronic gadgets and clothes. Today, people are selling symbols. Symbols that inflate ego, feed on greed, satisfy desires, and arouse jealousy in others.
There is a Godly saint mentioned in Indian mythology who travels incessantly, never staying in one place for long, gossiping, spreading rumors, and meddling in affairs of gods, kings and sages. He is a rumor-monger, a mischief monger, a plot-stirrer, and an event-catalyst. He makes things happen.
By creating brands, marketers are doing what the Indian saint was cursed to do. Marketers are doing the first part about playing with peopleâ€™s egos and emotions, forcing them to interact and engage with the world. One is not so sure about the latter part that is discovering the true meaning of life. Marketing is essentially about bringing out behavioral change in the consumer. Make them dissatisfied with this soap so that they buy that soap. Force them out of contentment and complacency, so that they go out and buy yet another shoe or diamond or car or shampoo.
Brands feed on insecurity, jealously, pride and arrogance, on the human desire for certainty, validation and approval. Onida feeds on jealously and makes no bones about it, using the devil as its brand icon.
Maggi, in its new avatar, is trying to allay the guilt of mothers who feel they are depriving children good home-cooked food by insisting that the instant noodles are healthy and nutritious.
Financial institutions feed on a womenâ€™s fear of widowhood, an old coupleâ€™s fear of being dependent on their children, a young girlâ€™s fear that her parents may not provide for her education. Jewellery houses feed on a wifeâ€™s fear that her husband no longer finds her lovable or mother-in-lawâ€™s fear that her daughter-in-law will think of her as stingy witch, something that will alienate her son from her.
The only reason Monte Blanc pens, Mercedes cars, Versace bags, Louis Phillipe shirts sell, is because out there are consumers who believe owning them improves their images and their status in society.
One can actually feel todayâ€™s going to that little girl and telling her that her father is not good enough if he does not buy this car. And then going to the housewife and telling her that every one feels her neighborâ€™s house is prettier because she used that paint. Another marketerâ€™s campaign is telling that young man to buy this watch because only then his father will believe he is truly successful and telling that young woman to read that newspaper, because only then she will be considered intellectual yet cool. No, donâ€™t buy this dress, says another ad. You donâ€™t want people to think you are a cheap. And another says not to give a missed call as others may think indifferently about the person. Marketer meanders endlessly expanding the market like the Godly saint of Indian mythology.