Lunchroom Marketing

Scott Swedenburg When I was in elementary school, my mom got me a Bonanza lunchbox. Hoss and Little Joe were okay, but they weren’t near as cool as Zorro or the Green Hornet in the 60s. Likewise, all the girls wanted a Monkees or Bobby Sherman lunchbox.

After all, your lunchbox was a part of your identity. No self-respecting boy would go to school with a Brady Bunch lunchbox. The Brady Bunch lunchbox may have had the same size thermos and similar features as a Zorro lunchbox, but you would never win any sword fights at recess. When we make a buying decision, how the product makes us feel is as important, if not more so, than the functionality of the product.

For example, if you need to get from one place to another, most any car will do. Then why don’t we buy just any car? Some of us want to feel in control, so we buy a SUV. Some want to feel safe, so we buy a Volvo. Some want to feel like we’re helping the environment, so we buy a hybrid. Some of us have a need for speed, so we buy a sports car. All these buying decisions are based on the experience/feeling, not function.

We even choose which nonprofit to support based on how it makes us feel to be associated with it.

Having a Zorro lunchbox didn’t make me a better swordfighter, but I believed it did. Marketers and fundraisers need to tell stories that touch a feeling or emotion within their customer. Porsche tells the story of speed and handling. Yet, as long as Porsche owners follow the traffic laws, they will never go any faster than a Prius owner. But, they will always feel faster.

Learn all you can about the feelings or emotions that will initiate a buying response from your customers and give it to them. You may find your product can’t provide that feeling. If your product makes people feel safe, stop trying to sell customers looking for speed. You will be much more successful by narrowing your focus.

Do you have a need for speed? Don’t buy a Porsche. Ebay has vintage Hot Wheels lunchboxes selling for a lot less.

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