Can’t be bought. And if you really do need something that can be bought, odds are it’s cheap.
(Note: I’m not talking about the developing world where water is like gold. I’m talking about a world where stopping to read this blog post is a valid use of time.)
So if nobody really needs anything anymore, what’s marketing about?
It’s about wants. It’s about fostering and channeling the desires of everyday people, typically through a paywall.
In other words, it’s about creating placebos that help customers feel satisfied, or actualized, or whatever.
Just like how doctors give out sugar pills only to get similar, if not better, results, it works because people expect it to work.
Go to a doctor’s office, sit in the waiting room, get called by a nurse wearing scrubs, now sit in a different room, then wait for the doctor wearing his lab coat (walking at a calm yet quick pace because he’s very busy treating people), all so he can look at your vitals (on a clipboard) and explain what’s amok (usually in the droll monotone of a person who has said something everyday for the past few decades).
After all this, the doctor may give you a sugar pill. And it will probably work.
Sugar pills work because, after all that, you simply expect them to.
If the doctor came in wearing a wife-beater you’d probably think something’s amiss, and then the sugar pill wouldn’t work.
Marketing (the sugar pill of the business world) works when everything about the product or service just jives right.
Popular e-commerce stores all look similar because of the power of placebos. Clickbait headlines (you know, “Ten Shocking Revelations About President Obama You MUST Read”) work because you expect them too.
So go ahead a judge a book by it’s cover. That might be all you read anyway.