Why do we buy things?

Is it really a matter of Knowing, Trusting, and Liking?

Or is it a matter of want, need, desire or convenience?

Realistically the principal of Know, Trust, and Like applies to a relatively small amount of industries.

Surely it applies to those of us who are in information brokering.

But what about other products?

Do you “trust” Coca Cola? Do you “Know” Snickers?

Probably not.

Chances are you didn’t put a ton of thought into 99% of your stuff.

Don’t believe me?

Quick, who made your sheets?

Do you remember your sock brand?

Knowing, Trusting, and Liking isn’t everything.

These are three seperate and distinct paths to something that is far more important:

Familiarity.

You can “like” Coca-Cola without ever knowing anything about how they conduct their business.

You can “trust” your bank without knowing all the investment programs they offer.

You can “know” the shoes on your feet, and the clothes on your back are likely made by children in a third world country.

Yet we make these purchases.

Some without thought. Some with anticipation.

But why?

It’s not as easy as pegging it on any one reason.

Some purchases are planned, some are made on impulse, some are considered an investment.

Some purchases put one step closer to your ideal lifestyle.

A bigger television, for example, or nicer looking clothes, are commonly purchased to make you feel more like a rockstar.

Others purchases enhance skills.

Tools for the garage, better software for the computer, Scribe to improve your SEO (affiliate link ;-)

Chances are you don’t even think about the other stuff, socks, underware, toilet paper, because it’s what your mom used.

Or it was on sale.

But In every case, each one of these purchases has some varying degree of familiarity to it. Be it familiarity of the euphoria of buying new clothes, or familiarity of the winning feeling of saving a bundle of money on mundane but necessary items.

So what does this mean for us as product creators?

It means we need to learn the things we can do to be familiar to our target market.

It means looking outside of your direct industry. Find the cross over and see how other industries appeal to the same people.

It means you need to carefully analyze how those other content developers are bringing more people in the doors.

It means by incorporating some of what the other people are doing, you’re introducing a sense of familiarity, and people will be more comfortable buying from you.

We buy stuff because…

We’re familiar with the good feeling it brings. Or we’re familiar with the void that the product will fill.

Do you know where you fit in to your s lives.

Are you familiar with the good feelings your product brings, or the void that it fills? Do you know why people are buying from you?

Do you know the problem that only you can solve?

For many of us, the answer is no.

If it is, that’s alright. You’re not alone.

The first step is always brainstorming.

So what do you think you can do to make your business more familiar?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Brandon Yanofsky May 12, 2011 at 9:52 pm

I try to build relationships, sincere ones, to build familiarity. A product I’m building now arose out of a need a lot of people I know had. Instead of helping each one individually, I help them all with the product. And each person, each customer, arose out of a relationship. Building familiarity

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Tommy is my name May 12, 2011 at 10:57 pm

I think building products out of a direct need of what people you know need is a phenomenal approach (and how very 37 signals of you). If you don’t mind my asking… what’s the product all about?

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Brandon Yanofsky May 12, 2011 at 10:59 pm

It’s an ebook and video on how to install and set up a wordpress blog. Takes you step by step through all purchases you need to make and such.

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Tommy is my name May 12, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Let me know if you end up making an affiliate program for that. I think that’s extremely useful!

Reply

Brandon Yanofsky May 12, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Definitely will. And I’m still planning on getting your book up on my site. Just gotta stop delaying

answers yahoo June 28, 2011 at 2:40 am

Excellent subject I could not of thougth off that !

Reply

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