Have you ever said, “That salesperson really saw me coming. He wasn’t letting me out of there until I bought.” All of us feel that we’ve been sold something in our lives that we didn’t need or think we wanted. We think we’ve been persuaded to buy. That idea, in turn, influences our thoughts about what sales is and how it works.
In fact, none of us – no customer – ever buys anything that they’re not ready to buy. The reason is simple. If we’re not ready to buy something on some level, we don’t notice it. Among the millions of messages bombarding us at every second, a message for which we have no use doesn’t get through. So while we may later regret buying something, we were in fact ready to buy it.
This vital point is essential in understanding the role of marketing. It is not the job of marketing to sell. It’s the job of marketing to create an environment in which sales can occur by making sure that your product or company comes to mind at the moment that the buyer is ready to buy. This can be accomplished by making your message so compelling that it lingers in the back of the mind until the moment of need arises. Or, marketing can simply make your message so ubiquitous that the buyer sees it when they’re ready to make a decision.
You can argue that you remember the AFLAC duck even though you’d never buy the product. No, you like humor and funny animals. That’s what you bought. But if you ever need that kind of insurance or have to recommend to a friend, guess who will come to mind?
If we can get out of our minds that it’s our job to “make” people buy stuff, then we can let marketing do the job for which it was conceived.