It’s an age old question; Can money REALLY buy you happiness?
Science has chimed in on this question with a definite answer; It depends.
According to scientific research, money CAN buy you happiness. But, and here’s the catch, that happiness can either be short-term or long-term, based on WHAT you spend your money on.
If you buy products, your happiness from that purchase tends to be short-term. Additionally, your happiness is typically at its highest levels at the moment of purchase. The amount of happiness that you get from a product purchase tends to degrade over time. When you are dealing with products that are frequently updated, such as a new version of the iPhone coming out every year, your happiness levels from your purchase can fall even faster.
So product purchases tend to bring you short-term happiness that fades quickly.
If you want long-term happiness, then scientific research shows that you should spend your money on experiences. For instance, travel. And your happiness from these experiences increases more, if you enjoy those experiences with other people.
Here’s why; Word of mouth. Think about it, your family goes on vacation and that creates memories that you will share for the rest of your lives. In recalling those trips, you continue to get happiness and joy from simply recalling with your family what happened.
I grew up in a rural area of Alabama that had no toy stores. As a child, my exposure to toys in a retail setting was one isle of boys toys and one isle of toys for girls in the local department store. But when I was 8 years old, my family took a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It was in December, so very cold, in fact I think it was snowing. My family and I were in an area with many small shops on both sides of the cobblestone street. I was walking around marveling at the shops when I saw it. A toy shop! I turned around and there was a huge store display of 12-inch Star Wars dolls! For the rest of my life, I will always remember seeing that gorgeous display on the other side of a frost-covered window.
I could not, for the life of me, remember a single product my family bought during that trip. But I will always remember the experience of being on that cobblestone street and seeing that display of Star Wars figures in that toy shop.
Product purchases bring short-term happiness that fades quickly. Long-term happiness comes from spending money on experiences.
So what does this mean for product marketers? If what you sell only provides short-term pleasure, how do you overcome that?
You focus your marketing, product design, sales and research on the EXPERIENCES that your product enables for the customer. You aren’t just selling a product, you are selling a product that allows the customer to engage in amazing experiences!
Here’s an example. When a financial planner talks to you about planning for retirement, what do they talk to you about? A good deal of the conversation revolves around ‘what do you want retirement to look like?’ In other words, when do you want to retire, and what do you want to do WHEN you retire? The planner focuses on the life you want to live when you retire, then customizes a financial plan to help you achieve those goals. But when selling the services, a smart planner will focus on what good retirement planning today will mean to your financial future. She will talk to you about the experiences you will be able to have if you create a solid retirement plan today.
Look at Red Bull’s commercials and content. Red Bull sells energy drinks, but almost none of its marketing or content is focused on the products it sells. Instead, almost all of Red Bull’s content focuses on the experiences that its athletes are engaged in. The amazing stunts, tricks and accomplishments that make us ‘ohhh’ and ‘ahhh’! But the underlying message is clear: If you want to do amazing things like this, drink Red Bull.
So when you designing your product marketing, focus on the experiences that your product can create for your customers. Ask yourself “What does this product allow our customers to do that’s amazing? How does this product change the lives of our customers?” At first this might seem silly, but after a while, you will probably realize that your product can make a bigger impact on the lives of your customers than you realized
Now you need to make sure your customers realize that as well. Remember, the key is to create happiness for your customers that lasts for life.