Jennifer B. Davis
We are all familiar with the perfume or underwear ads that don't mention or show their products at all. Instead, they are clearing promoting the idea that if you had their product you live would be as beautiful or glamorous as the folks in the commercial. Even the tame ones, like the ad for Sarah Jessica Parker's Lovely, clearly tap into the demographic and the underlying reasons for purchase. This is the basics of branding.

So, why should the advertisers have all of the fun? The most successful salespeople have long recognized that the key to product positioning is to get at the heart of the emotional motivations of the buyer. What are their greatest fears? How is their performance measured at work and how you can help them win points with the boss? In essense, the job isn't selling or marketing a product. It is selling piece of mind.
The famous addage "No one got fired for buying an IBM," wasn't about the product. It was about risk mitigation. Certainly, these products (and their marketing) tap into a whole different set of emotions. Note the graph on the computer screen to the left...up and to the right! Just what that risk intolerant executive wants to see, in light of his decision to invest in computer equipment!

Today, I ran across a very interesting concept in co-marketing with risk mitigation in mind. Carpisa, a well-known brand of fashion handbags and leather goods, has joined with an insurance company to create a bag bundled with travel insurance. They guarantee the bag for craftsmanship and also for outright loss. Piece of mind for a piece of luggage.

This fires the imagination. Just sticking with this theme, what other products could be bundled with piece of mind, in the form of insurance? Technology products bundled with insurance that says if a new product comes out with better performance (or Apple releases a new version of the iPhone with expandable memory and the ability to change the battery), they get it for free. Online photo processing companies offering archiving services, in case your printed pictures are ever lost or damaged (they could use footage of family photos after Hurricane Katrina and people would immediately get it). Offering insurance to parents who buy a Gund or Build-a-Bear stuffed animal that if this one becomes your child's favorite and it is ever lost, they will overnight you a replacement to avoid permanent trama. This is beyond product warranties, or even extended warranties. This is understanding the full set of emotions triggered in the context of selecting or using a product.

Case in point. I use Plaxo because I never risk losing my contact database ever again. I wonder if they know how many of their customers are actually buying piece of mind, as well as convenience.

Speaking of convenience, what products could be bundled with corrolary services? I am a big fan of companies bundling products with other service offerings that would make the whole experience less stressful. Going back to luggage and things that could be used to reduce the hassles of travel, here are a few ideas. I would certainly pay more for a suitcase that allowed you faster access through security through a special line, a rental car service that dropped you off at the terminal and checked your bags for you (or started providing service in your departure location by offering to take you to the airport in the first place), or a laptop bag that was insured against theft.
I leave you with two questions: What are the risks associated with products or services that could be addressed by bundled insurance offerings? What are the convenience offerings that should come with some of your favorite products?
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