Wonders abound in the world. If you think of it, it can be found. A place to travel, a unique dinning experience, the pursuit of exceptional health, continuous learning and more.
After the obligatory Google search. And after following the click trail and falling down the rabbit hole in pursuit of the thing, the place, the taste, the experience, the feeling, what then?
Is that still what we want?
Is that where we thought it would take us?
These questions seem simple to answer, but what of the ‘what next’ question? At this point my mom would tell me to stop with the questions and to make my point or move on.
So, here it is. Why do we spend so much time in pursue of something we hadn’t thought or desired in any substantial, needful way until we arrive at the checkout screen? And then we buy it anyway?
It Has To Be Marketing
Well of course, it’s marketing. Many hours have been spent pouring over data, compiling evidence, formulating percentages, developing demographic profiles, and more to hone in on the right eyes, ears and set of desires to become potential buyers.
Yet, in my humble and completely unscientific opinion there is something missing. A big something. The why of the – “Why would this (fill in the blank) be of interest to me, exactly?”
Clearly companies from global juggernauts to local small businesses have developed their formulas for marketing and sales success. They wouldn’t exist if they didn’t. And while their success can’t be denied in their bottom lines, it comes across like a 90’s sitcom with a canned laugh track.
Instead of us wanting to laugh, we are constantly prompted as to when and where to laugh. The question isn’t why are we laughing. The question is do we know why we are laughing at all with no apparent real reason. The same can be said for any number of things, places or experiences we consume.
This is a perfectly valid consumer question that is not only neglected, but intentionally distracted from in the way in which we are marketed. Heaven forbid the marketer loses our attention. Of course, all will be well until the next carnival barker with a louder pitch comes along.
Speaking from where I sit in a home with an amassed collection of a minimum of 400 or more brands and products (surely there is a research number that captures that), it would appear that they arrived here from mostly need and some want.
I have every confidence however that if I had to vacate my environment and rid it of its content, the phrase “Why did I buy/Why do I have this” would be repeated with fierce frequently.
Perhaps it is naïve to think that we consumers can override the strategically placed thought triggers that move us to acquire this product or that thing. But, as long as all that effort is put into getting it in my house, it just might prove even more provocative and productive to understand why it would be of interest to me at all, exactly.