Why people buy and why they don’t – the marketer’s conundrum
To buy or not to buy, that is the question.
Inside The Buyers Brain
Have you ever wondered why people buy, or why they don’t buy? Also, what causes,
or stops you from reaching for your wallet or credit card when you see an
ad or product that grabs your interest?
In many of my past emails and posts I have mentioned many of the reasons why you
might buy on impulse. More importantly, in this writing I will to delve into more of
the Psychological detail that your mind works through when your “Interest” in
something is sparked.
The following could be one of a million scenarios.
You walk through a store and something catches your eye. It’s a clock that
reminds you of your sister, who you haven’t seen in over 6 years.
It seems like she lives on the other side of the universe.
You say to yourself “My sister had a clock just like this in her bedroom
when we were both growing up. For some reason it was very special to her,
and here is one just like it. Hers got knocked on the floor and was found in pieces.
This would make a wonderful gift for her.”
“Well, let’s see how much it will cost.
$369 + tax. WOW! It seems a bit high,
but my sister would really like it.”
“I will remember this place, and come back
in a few days to get it. I get paid again
tomorrow so that will work out just fine.”
(Excuses not to buy)
“Oh my, I just noticed this is a closeout sale,
and this is the very last one that they have.”
(Sense of urgency)
“Well, no one will be buying it in the next couple
of days. Although, it is the last one, so it must
be somewhat popular.”
“Maybe I should get it now?”
“Ooohhhh, what should I do? I’m going to get it. My sister will love it.”
This first example illustrates a “Knock em’ dead, must have” example, and deals with
the similar emotional struggles that many of us have when we buy.
In the following examples, you will see the “No questions asked” emotional buy.
“Oh, my god!” “Look at that”. “I’ve been searching for that necklace for 3 years,
and here it is. I’ve got to have it!”
Or the “Clueless” marketer
“Oh, wow”. “This says that I can use this software for 180 days for free.”
“Let’s see, what it does”
“This is crazy. This program will find customers for me, drive them to my
sales offers, show them my Youtube videos, create on-the-spot sales copy
as it interprets the reader’s mood, and it even collects the money.”
“How can I go wrong!”
“I’ve GOT to have this s#it”
And that’s probably exactly what it is!
Well, I never was very good at making up stories, however that is one illustration
of why you, as a Marketer/Buyer, may be very disappointed as some purchases.
Nothing works like that – yet.
re-visiting the clock example, what mades this person buy was that the enjoyment was
not only personal, but the enjoyment was also directed toward someone else.
However, what if the sister who had the broken clock was hated?
Do you think the outcome would have been the same?
Chances are the sister would probably have bought the clock
just so she could take a hammer to it and smash it,
all the while imagining that face on the clock was her sisters.
Your feelings as a buyer
Why do you do things for someone else for a “Just Because” reason?
Yes, you know it will make them feel good, but what else?
You also know that it will reflect favorably on you. Giving makes most of us
feel good – about what WE have done. We made someone happy. I’m not
suggesting that there is anything wrong with that, but the there is that element
of “Me” that creeps in, and is used in marketing. Think about the ads during
At an unconscious level, you may even be using this “Kind Gesture” as a
bribe for something, and not even realize it.
There is very little that we do that is not somehow directed back at ourselves.
Do you do nice things for someone that you don’t like? Only if you want something
from them, or don’t want them to think they are disliked.
In this second example, (180 day free software) you can see how good
a copywriter can be. This person is convinced about this product. I’m not.
In order to have established this strong of an emotion response, you must
already have a desire to do something, and also want very badly
to find something that will fulfill that desire.
Why people buy is not always the issue. More importantly, your question should be
“What feelings do people use when they buy something”. Your answer may
be different depending on the product (and person) in question.
As a marketer, it is essential to realize that most (if not all) people cannot
separate their brain from their heart (emotion) when they are
considering a purchase.
Secondly, you also must be willing to ignore logic. Emotionally you want
that “Something to make things better” so much that even a grain of hope (for a positive outcome) will do.
This is usually the trap into which the novice internet marketer falls.
As a new marketer you may get a website, set up a blog and landing page,
find or create something to sell, attempt to drive traffic, and yet still get no
traction at all. This makes you really want, even a tiny bit of success all the more.
“I want”. “Nothing happens”.
“I now want it more”. “Still nothing happening”
“Now, I really want it”. “Nothing!”
“God, even an 8 year-old can do it – now I’m desperate”.
So you buy, buy, buy until your pockets are empty, or until you realize
that either everything is a scam, you never have all the pieces, or you
are running out of the money.
Of course, not everything is a scam, but you sometimes realize that there
is something missing in what you are doing, or how you are thinking.
One the other hand, you may blame the product, not realizing that you
have more learning to do, and that you are not putting in enough effort
and time to make things work.
The “Must Haves”
Your car gets totaled , you have to get another car. You know it’s expensive, yet
it’s a “Must Have”. This is a no choice buy, like a broken window that must be fixed, or
our heating unit goes down in the middle of zero degrees outside.
What about clothes? You are fortunate enough to have more clothing items just
sitting in our closet than you ever use. Yet, you see something you like, and you
buy (or order these days) your newest fashion statement.
The selling process is simple if you, the buyer, MUST have the item, like that totaled car.
Or, if you absolutely love what you see such as that “Fashion Statement”.
With rare exceptions, why people buy is not just black or white, but falls somewhere
in between. Therefore, understanding your readers (prospective buyers) wants,
needs, and desires becomes important.
Knowing the basic emotion stirring words that most people respond to is one of the
major keys to the selling process. Putting words together correctly can increase
your sales, or drastically lower them.
When you write your sales copy be sure to convey precisely what you mean. It’s easy to make
writing mistakes that leaves the reader confused, wanting to club you over the head,
or has lost interest and stops reading.
And so, your brain may be telling you one thing, while your emotions may be saying something else regarding your purchase.
For your buying insight, don’t just ask “Why do people buy”,
but more importantly, ask “What makes ME buy”?
You may surprise yourself.