Feel-Good Marketing — Article 1

Feel-Good Marketing

Marketing is all about getting the customer to buy your product. To that end here are a few simple guidelines:

1. make it easy for them to buy your product–remove the obstacles to sale

2. make your product stand out as the clear choice in a sea of choices

3. make them confident of your company (“image” branding)

4. let them see your product in terms of its value to them

5. understand the motivations of your customer

6. make them feel good about their choice post sale

7. offer them a chance to do good with their purchase

Speaking from a designer’s point of view, the art of marketing is a matter of branding, image and point of sale. The science of marketing is best left to those who study the analytics.

This article is about how and why people buy, and specifically the less obvious motivators in current trends. I will focus on the guidelines listed above, meanwhile expanding on the definition of feel-good marketing.

Here is one definition: “Feel Good marketing involves promoting products that make people feel good about themselves because they are helping to make a better world for all.” — Steve Gillich CTM, President of the Canadian Institute of Travel Counselors http://login.greatbignews.com/UserFiles/118/May152007.htm

Now, a company that only does this kind of feel-good marketing may fail because it is not watching the bottom line, or because the primary motivator — “how does buying this item benefit me?” — is lacking. The company may fail because they did not fulfill the guidelines listed above, or because of other more quantitative (field of marketing analysis) reasons.

A broader definition of feel-good marketing is that the customer should feel good about buying your product / service from the start of the buying process to the sale, through the life of that product / service. Every businessman knows that repeat customers are the best customers. A repeat customer is one who has had a positive experience with the company.

I recently experienced inept customer service from a company: funneled to customer service in India, I ended up speaking to the supervisor. In our lengthy conversation, he implied that I was stupid and irresponsible. His unwillingness to understand or offer to help was shocking, and his supercilious attitude was outrageous. I was wondering who trained this individual, so that he might think it was in the company’s best interest to insult or belittle customers. Even if there was nothing that the representative could do for me, he could have used courtesy and diplomacy to make sure I walked away with a positive feeling. Instead, the net effect of my conversation with this person was negative. Therefore, my desire to deal with this company is severely impacted, and the value of their service to me has dropped.

A company should be concerned with customer retention, through a sustained positive experience. They might have sold me something once, but I won’t continue or buy again if I have had a negative experience. Worse, through viral marketing, a disgruntled consumer has ever more power to affect other people’s opinions than before.

Each step in the marketing guidelines outlined above can be seen in terms of feel-good marketing:

1. make it easy for them to buy your product–remove the obstacles to sale

This is best done by good design: if on the internet, make the path to the sale obvious and intuitive to your buyer. Give him access to plenty of rationale to back up his decision to buy your product, not in the top level of the site architecture where it may confuse him, but in the lower levels . Other media has to be even clearer and succinct. (I will cover design criteria in other articles.) A user feels good about the buying process because it is easy and clear. The last thing you want to do is to confuse him with too much information, clutter, and lack of information hierarchy. If the potential buyer is confused, he feels stupid, and is much less willing to buy.

2. make your product stand out as the clear choice in a sea of choices

Again, this is the job of the designer. A good designer makes the value of the brand clear to the consumer. Even if the brand is more expensive than the competition, the user feels good about buying this product over another. The direct benefit of buying a brand has to be clear. Why would a person buy designer jeans when any pair has the same function? Cachée, image, good design, fit, etc. It all falls under the heading of “feel-good” — the buyer wants to feel good about his choice.

3. make them confident of your company (“image” branding)

Building an image is a careful process of using good design to inspire confidence and trust in a company. Customers buy for many reasons, but once they have been burned by a fly-by-night, here-today-gone-tomorrow company, they are cautious of trusting their money to unprofessional-looking businesses.

4. let them see your product in terms of its value to them

This is the same as in point #2: the customer has to be sure of how the product is going to benefit them. They want to feel good about its value.

5. understand the motivations of your customer

Part of the process of design-marketing is determining the “portrait” of your consumer, so that you may target your marketing their way. Understanding what motivates someone to buy your product is a key part of the early design-marketing process. One of the prime motivations is the desire to feel good about not just what they purchase, but about themselves as a consumer.

6. make them feel good about their choice post sale

Make them feel smart, and savvy through good customer service, and support. The repeat customer and longtime client is your best, least expensive form of advertising (see my articles on viral marketing and community building on this site). Nonexistent or poor customer service is a form of very expensive negative advertising for your business. I predict that, in the near future, companies will rise and fall due to the power of the consumer and buzz marketing. Make sure that the word out on the street about you is not negative.

Support your customers with social media: communicate with them, respond to their questions, allow them to be your advocates.

7. offer them a chance to do good with their purchase

Lastly, although this is not a prime motivator for most people, this will be an incredible boost to your company if you can offer your consumers a way to feel good about themselves through altruistic action. Make it easy for them to “do right” and to feel that their purchase, although made primarily for their own benefit, can do something for others or for the environment. In this way, people can feel good about being part of a larger community of people with high values. More information on how to generate good feelings in people who feel part of a community of like-minded individuals is covered in my articles on community building on this site.

Copyright 2007 Aliyah Marr

— this article may be reproduced; just write me first at:




3 Replies to “Feel-Good Marketing — Article 1”

  1. Wow, such an abundance of useful information! Thank you so much for taking the time to help empower people like myself with the information that will bring success!

    I 100% agree with your positive approach in sales. I can hardly wait to read the rest of your posts! I will send this to my college professors to share with students that will hopefully fallow your advise.

    I am getting to the point of my career where I need every bit of helpful info I can get, your way of communicating the process of sales is very easy and makes my day look a little less overwhelming,

    I am quite blessed to be in the business of doing what I love – I tell stories that inspire and educate viewers through the ever evolving technology of new media.

    I am passionately driven in the projects I produce; I know that with my technical skills, outgoing personality, and ability to connect with others, I will eventually figure out a way to be financially secure while I dedicate 110% of my time/efforts to getting these projects completed.

    I am open to any suggestions you may have for a starving artist that is currently producing 2 multi-million $ projects. There must be some way to survive without sacrificing the time I have to be available to lead the development of these projects. I am very close to getting financing, this big money takes more time to move than had anticipated.

    So, Round and Round I go, I hope somewhere you have written something about how to get to that next level of operating a business by connecting with the right people that want to be involved- I know they are out there, I just don’t know how to reach them yet, indeed… marketing and time would help.

    Anywho, Have a beautiful day ! Thanks again for the tips and helping people see how doing things that are good for others and our environment can improve business and make life a bit more enjoyable for everyone.. doing so causes a chain reaction and could change the world.

    ~Anne Jo Lee


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