When I teach marketing workshops to information entrepreneurs, I tell a story about myself and Tony Robbins.
A little over a decade ago I would time my nights so I could come home and watch his “Personal Power” infomercial. I couldn’t afford to buy the tapes (no CDs at that time) … but just watching the stories of other people transforming misery into success was enough for me to believe it might be possible for me, too. So I watched, night in and night out … and dreamed about what life would be like with those secrets in my hands.
Later, when I could finally afford the tapes, making that purchase felt like I was conquering the world.
All this before I even listened to the first one.
Today, Seth Godin posted about an infomercial doo-dad called the Pasta Express (emphasis mine):
Actually, the Pasta Express is a plastic tube with a perforated top. You put boiling water into it (probably a tricky act), add some pasta and watch it turn into a gloppy mass as the water cools. Not only doesn’t it solve your pasta problem (what, you didn’t have a pasta problem?) but it makes bad pasta.
So, how does it sell?
It sells because the point of the commercial isn’t to sell you something that will help you make better pasta. The point of the commercial is to sell you something that you will enjoy buying.
More and more, we buy stuff where the buying is the point, not the stuff.
There is a danger of looking at this too cynically.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking it is an “either/or” proposition … that the point can be EITHER a) the experience of buying OR b) the experience of using the product.
The most effective marketers put as much attention on crafting a compelling purchase experience as they do a compelling delivery/usage experience.