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September 2004 -

Discussing the Book of the Month

September 2004 - Why People Buy Things They Don't Need : Understanding and Predicting Consumer Behavior

We've lived through the age of cocooning (which perhaps peaked post 9/11). According to Pam Danziger, the author of this month's Readers' Choice award winner, we have now moved into a new era called "connecting," in which people's energy is migrating away from the nest and into the outside world. Few marketers are tapping into this new sensibility. In probably the best study of consumer purchasing trends since Paco Underhill's seminal Why We Buy, Danziger sends a meticulously researched wake-up call to product developers and marketers in virtually any industry.

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Discussion Questions

  1. What emotions were involved with your own most recent purchase of something you didn't really need?
  2. How can you tap into the justifiers people use to give themselves permission to buy?
  3. Is there something about your product or service that you could adapt so that it serves as "fantasy fulfillment"?
  4. If connectivity is the new buzzword, what could your company do to capitalize on the trend to, as E. M. Forster writes, "only connect."