Wednesday, February 2

I Want Hunter Boots

At the last few industry conferences, I have been speaking about the marketing notion of need vs. want. We "need" products but we "want" brands. It's great marketing and an incredible brand experience that makes us want one brand over another.

We might need a cup of coffee in the morning, but there's something about the brand that makes us want a Starbucks. I personally need to wear a shirt to work but I want to wear Paul Smith. It's my brand.

I had my own personal experience with want vs need this weekend buying snow boots. We've had a hundred feet of snow this winter and I am tired of dunking my feet in slush at every Manhattan corner. I need a good pair of winter boots, ideally very water proof.

So I did what every good shopper does and started paying attention to what other people were wearing. Kept seeing this brand Hunter. Started hearing more and more about Hunter. Saw Hunter on the celebrities in all the candid magazine shots. Gotta have a pair of those Hunter boots.

But of course, in true form for good marketing there is not a pair in sight. Not on the island of Manhattan anyway.

OMG, I want a pair of those Hunter boots. The more I can't have them then the more I want them. So despite the dozens of other options available to me, I decided to wait and get the brand I want. Soggy socks and all.

Quite irrational, another sign of effective marketing. My desire trumped convenience and price and short term comfort.

See, I too can be a victim of marketing.

What's your experience? Jim.


  1. LOL .. I had a similar boot experience before heading out to Utah. I had my eye on the "Joan of Artctic" by Sorel and toddled off the Peter Glenn Sport. They didn't have my size and I was crushed. Also desperate. Flip-flops would certainly never do. I settled for less and bought a style that I really didn't want and were a half size to big. But what else could I do? So, I tweeted my despair. Peter Glenn Sport saw my tweet, said we can't have you go off the Park City with boots you don't love and overnighted me the Joan of Arctics! They were a hit with all the ski crowd, kept me warm and looked great. And, living in Florida they should last me a lifetime!

  2. Great story Sandra. I hear this happening on Twitter all the time, so Jim, here's hoping the Hunter boots of your dreams will arrive via Fed-X too!

  3. Hi Jim, I want to share my experience of a "Need" I recently experienced-
    My 7 year old daughter comes from School one day and tells me she wants an American Girl doll. She told me how one of her friends had a great experience buying the doll at the store. She excitedly told me about the store, how big it was, the products they had and many other exciting things she had heard from her friend. I was amazed to hear how early in life you can get so much influenced by the brand experience. My daughter no longer needed any doll to play, she wanted the American Girl doll which costed me a fortune :) - Ruchi Goyal (Marketing student at NYU SCPS)

  4. Marketing certainlynstarts young, doesn't it? :)