Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Do You Purchase For Pleasure or Pain?

We are all consumers. Our motivation for purchasing has been studied from every possible perspective. Two avenues of purchase I find intriguing are pleasure and pain. An example of this would be upgrading my Mac because it is too slow. My pain is performance. How about purchasing a ticket to a Star Trek movie? Your pleasure is - you're a Trekkie. Off the top, I figure that most of my purchases are pain based. This topic came up in a discussion with a friend. Most of his purchases are pleasure based. He upgrades his computer to have the latest and greatest. He said pleasure is his motivator.

When you try to connect with your customers, do you try to determine if their motivation is pain or pleasure? Understanding this would give you quite an edge in the discussion. If they purchase for pain, they are probably reacting to something. It is a defensive move. If they are purchasing for pleasure, it is probably an offensive move. If they are releasing a new product, they will purchase promotional tools to tell the story. If the products are under attack from competition, they are purchasing tools to defend the position.

Your brand's success will be rooted in either a pain or pleasure benefit. Neither is right or wrong. You only have to identify the money maker and embrace it. I've seen some identify a negative attribute and try to change it thinking that every negative "must be bad." Not every time. Sometimes the negative is what brought you the success.

Case in point - Hospice. Most people relate Hospice with death or last days. Death frequently would definitely be a negative. But Hospice is different. They are renowned for how they handle death and caring for people in their final journey. So it could be said that death has made Hospice powerful. They are the experts in handling death. The ultimate "pain purchase."

What is your biggest motivation for purchasing: pleasure or pain?

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