Most sales people and marketers are aware of the belief that people buy products on emotion. The “better” product isn’t always the one that gets sold and buying decisions are usually irrational choices which are later self-justified with reasoning. Emotional selling doesn’t involve just selling the benefits of the product but learning about a person’s personality, goals and visions. Then you’re selling hope, status, luxury or a dream.
Why is this important to eco-products? We want our consumer to be emotionally attached to our products, not just to get them sold but so they keep them for longer. We live in a throwaway society, people are unaware of the issues surrounding energy use and production, lifecycle assessments have shown that 80% of total energy use of a product comes from manufacturing. Our goal should be to foster emotional connections with people and their products, hopefully leading to retention, this is much tougher than selling a Toyota Prius to someone who wants an eco-friendly status. It requires more than just marketing, it needs creative design which allows upgrade and repair of products easily, something which we don’t often see in the marketplace. For example, it’s too easy to upgrade to a new phone when your contract expires than retain the current one.
However, it is unlikely for businesses to adopt the strategy of advising consumers to retain their products, after all this would be uncompetitive and would result in a loss of revenue if people didn’t buy anymore. The opposing argument would be if manufacturers made upgrading products easier than money would be saved in producing a new product from scratch and it would also promote brand loyalty.
Is there an easy solution? I don’t think so. Consumers need clear direction, for people to form an e-ttachment to products and retain them for longer isn’t just the job of the marketer. It requires ingenuity of design, education, ease of repair and upgrade, and financial incentives for consumers.