Are We Selling Dreams?

Posted almost 2 years ago

Whenever you hear discussions around improving your marketing work, it’s almost always lead with the reminder to “sell benefits, not features” - as in, no one really cares what your product is, just what problem it can solve for them.

Whilst that notion is mostly true across the board, there’s an interesting distinction as we move into different types of product offering, and how that applies to FMCG is different to how it applies to luxury goods.

One of the most important differentiators between a normal/premium product and a luxury product is that we actually market the latter to a much wider audience than the former. This might seem quite unintuitive, as you might imagine, luxury goods can only be afforded by a much smaller proportion of society, but the brand desire given to a luxury product is predominantly imparted onto it by those who’ll never buy it.

The Ferrari Example


The LaFerrari

As an example, whilst Ferraris are undoubtedly fine machines, the main draw for the consumer is the halo effect around the company and product which is created in the mind by everyone from the girl with the poster of an Enzo on her bedroom wall, to the retired photocopier salesman cheering the Scuderia on from the Wellington Straight.

Light a Spark


Light a spark in the minds of non-customers

So, if we’re selling something that can be considered a luxury item, whose value is inherently wrapped up in how it’s perceived by those who *aren’t* the customer, lighting a spark in their imaginations, should we live by the mantra “sell dreams, not features”?

How might this be applicable in other spheres, and for other products not traditionally seen as “luxuries”? As you may know, I currently work in marketing at a university, and oddly I see a fair few parallels.

The value of what we offer is tied into the outside world’s view of what we deliver to students - the knowledge and experiences is the core, but we wouldn’t have any students if we weren’t seeding those who haven’t attended (employers, parents, government) with a perception of what they graduate as.

As we touched on before, you can’t extend this thinking to FMCG, no one’s going to wish they were you because you use a certain type of toothpaste (although, Triple Velvet loo roll will get you some internal thumbs up), but if the brand you’re working on is lead by how it’s viewed by the rest of the world (again with a car example, but Aston Martin’s coolness as judged by its link in the world’s mind to James Bond), then make sure you’re marketing to that audience as well.

As ever, if you think I’m right, wrong or just want to let me know what you think, drop me an @mention!

by Steve Farnworth

Steve Farnworth is a petrolhead, coffee drinker, amateur chocolatier, web developer and digital marketer from England, UK.

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