Anything Worth Having Is Worth Waiting For: The Myth of Instant Gratification

(excerpted from the 10/8/17 blog by Pam Danziger of Unity Marketing)

Ask shoppers what they want and you’ll find they want it all — good quality products, wide selection, low prices — and they want it all now. Consumers are driving the demand for instant gratification, so much so that we are becoming an instant gratification society. Digital marketer Neil Patel says, “Instant gratification is the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay or deferment. Basically, it’s when you want it; and you want it now.”

In consumers’ quest for “instant gratification” there are two components: the “Instant” now and the “Gratification” from pleasure and fulfillment achieved that leads to personal happiness. But human psychology programs us so that to get the later, i.e. our gratification, we have to give up the former, i.e. the instant. In other words, instant gratification isn’t so gratifying.

Your mother told you that anything worth having is worth waiting for. And she was right. Marketers that cater to the very high-end, such as bespoke tailors and shoe markers, artists, jewelers, interior designers and even Hermès with its famed waiting list, understand this essential truth.

Humans are “hard-wired to prioritize 'seeking' over 'finding',” so the searching and waiting for something wonderful to buy is often more rewarding than actually buying it. This explains consumers’ extensive pursuit of pre-purchase research, a phenomenon I have observed often in research with consumers, even as they complain about leading hectic, time-crunched lives. That time spent researching and planning a purchase is rewarding in and of itself.

Enhancing the emotional reward, not simply satisfying perceived physical need for a product, is what luxury interior design is all about. As Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”