Luxury or agency?

April 05th, 2018

champagne glass

Are you selling luxury or agency?

The common portrayal of marketing is the snake oil salesman trying to convince you that your life is woefully incomplete until you own [FILL IN YOUR DESIRED PRODUCT]. Without the sports car, gold watch, smart device, vacation, high-end appliance, blockbuster movie/album/book, or designer fashion, how could you possibly be living a satisfying life?

Sure, a lot of products use that style of marketing. They’re luxury goods. Toilet paper doesn’t need to present itself as a must-have item, because we already know that we need it, but I don’t have a desire for a 12-speed blender until someone tells me about it. So marketing for luxury goods becomes this yelling match of why you need this over that.


But are you selling luxury or agency?

While luxury goods and their marketing are easy to spot (they’re usually big, embellished, and attractive), most products and services are not luxury goods. Most products are about consumer agency -- giving the consumer more control over how they sleep, eat, play, learn, and carry on about their lives.

  • Your IT service provides more order and tools for efficiency.
  • Your beer brand provides a cheaper introduction into craft beers.
  • Your accounting firm removes the stress of financial management while also offsetting its own cost.

These products aren’t luxury goods that consumers are oblivious about until you shout at them. These are industries where consumers are already active; they’re already buying and researching, trying to make the best of what they have.

Your product, then, makes it easier for the consumer to make the best of what they want. So you don’t need marketing that shouts at your customers, because you’re providing agency and control, not luxury.