What I Learned About Business From the Eclipse

eclipseglasses2The solar eclipse for 2017 is now in the record books, many pairs of sun viewing glasses will now be relegated to the back of drawers or the trash bin, and we have more photographs of this event than we have kitten videos on Facebook.

However, I learned a lot about business and marketing as the sun was blotted out by the moon. Why were people so engaged in an event that actually could do nothing for them? Why did so many people want to do this and not feel left out? What was the emotion behind the need to go see an eclipse of the sun? And why did some people actually drive to where the sun totally disappeared during the day?

The hype behind the event was of rock star quality. Some of the coverage not so much, but the fact that we could experience the eclipse from Oregon to South Carolina and all areas in between is without precedent. No matter where you were in the USA you could see some covering of the sun by our moon. This fact should tell you that people will respond to the uniqueness of an event (or product) if they feel a connection to it. Who has not heard about the YETI Tundra series of coolers? These coolers start at $199.99 and go to $1299.99. Rather expensive for something designed to keep stuff cold. The point is that when you are strolling across the sand at the beach with a YETI you are part of an exclusive club. You belong, and you will pay a premium price to be a member of this elite club.

People HAD to go see the eclipse no matter where they lived. Some folks actually drove or flew to a part of the country where the eclipse was total just to be there for the one minute event. They belonged, they were there, and they experienced this first hand. Have you ever talked to an old hippie who did not attend Woodstock? If everyone I have heard this from was actually there the event would have taken up half of the state of New York!!!

How does this apply to business? Bottom line – throwing advertisements into people’s faces in television, radio, web sites, banner ads, or ads that pop up when you go see anything on the web are not getting anyone’s attention. People tune out, fast forward through, or just ignore all of the friction caused by their time being interrupted. However, when people have an emotional tie to whatever is being shown them, if it makes them feel like they are a part of a group they want to identify with, or if they know their participation will be used for a social cause they believe in, they cannot beat a path to your door fast enough. They will pay exorbitant prices for your cooler, they will buy expensive Patagonia jackets, they will buy their promotional products from a company that supports work for recovered heroin addicts, and they will pay more for the same product because they feel they are doing something good.

Emotions sell.

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