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Value + Hope February 18, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in philosophy.

In a former life I gave a presentation to the sales team of a company. I was reminded of it after reading this quote from Seth:

What marketers sell is hope.

Hope was part of the thrust of the presentation I gave, the other was value. We would raise hopes, set a price on those raised hopes, and then afterwards the customer decided whether or not they got value. My point was (and is) the seller mitigates value by adjusting the level of hope in the buyer – the price point is almost irrelevant (ok it’s not, but humour me here).

So I agree with Seth, marketers sell hope. But once money exchanges hands, hope transforms into value – either good or bad. Hope isn’t ever received by the buyer, and if one really wants to get into semantics, you could argue hope never actually existed with the seller in the first place.

There’s a link here somewhere to Schrödinger’s cat, though I can’t quite wrap my head around it. Anyone want to have a go?

Oh, and the (not very good)  presentation is below.

Thank you to the three people still reading for indulging me 🙂


1. Melissa - February 19, 2009

Still reading David. Patiently waiting for those scarce posts! Hope you’re settling in and climatising nicely!

2. Daniel - February 19, 2009

David, not sure I like “hope”. Does it work? I can’t get my head around it really.

Marketing 101 (and v. boring 🙂 but don’t marketers sell solutions to needs/problems and the Marketing Mix is built around that?

Sure we might say we sell hope that their need or problem can be solved/fixed but I would extend that and say we sell “proof” that we can.

Hope seems to imply that there is an element of a leap of faith and that they “hope” we can solve it.

3. Lisa Evett - February 19, 2009

I’m still reading too 🙂 Hope you are enjoying being a Canuck.

4. David Gillespie - February 19, 2009

Daniel, you can’t get your head around hope? Existential crisis! 😉

Seriously though, we operate on hope all the time. In your latest post you talk about the rules of social media being defined essentially by bloggers, and what you’re saying in essence is you “hope” everyone else will come play by those rules, though they’re obviously under no obligation to do so. When we put client’s campaigns into market, we “hope” that the research and insight we garnered pays off – and we certainly hope we didn’t go on a wild goose chase with the creative!

To say marketers sell solutions is, I feel, suggesting there’s more science to this than reality would suggest. Microsoft didn’t pick up the phone and call CP+B because they knew they could help, they just hoped they might.

And as for the three, I meant those who didn’t leave when I hit Schrödinger’s cat – which seems bang on the mark. Three it is!

5. Larry Irons - March 3, 2009

David, as I look at it, customers hope because marketers and advertisers promise… value…that is how selling works, isn’t it? Ahhh, but relationships develop when the value experienced is unexpected, and renews hopefulness.

In my experience, relationships are never an equal sum. We can be in or out of them depending on the point of view. Hopefulness makes either or both possible. Perhaps this is just semantics though 😉

6. David Gillespie - March 3, 2009

Larry I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship 😉

7. Larry Irons - March 3, 2009


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