How Do Consumers Choose If All Their Options Really Blow?

By November 30, 2006

I bought a leaf blower today and it turned out to be a lesson in branding and product differentation. Actually, it’s a demonstration of the consumer selection process when there is a lack of difference. Armed with my research I headed to my local big-box home improvement retailer only to find that they had none of the brands I wanted. My first inclination was to head to the competing store for a look, but time is short. Surely I can find something suitable here. Upon comparing the product specs I find that most brands are very close in weight, blowing speed and blowing volume. They’re also fairly close in price. So which to choose? One brand has an exclusive, down-the-tube exhaust which might help me to not smell like oily smoke when I’m through. It’s worth a look. Which model should I choose? After quietly pondering (and while my friends are patiently waiting) I select a model and proceed to purchase. On the ride back to the office my friend asks why I chose the model I did. Hmm. I sheepishly reply, “I liked the name.” He is surprised and asks “After all that analysis and comparison you chose the product because you liked the name?” Yep. Even savvy marketers can fall prey to the hot air that our fellow pitchmasters blow at us. But hey, I am one proud owner of the Homelite VacAttack with ZipStart technology!

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