by: Geoff Ficke

The Importance of “Instant Gratification” When Marketing Consumer Products

I remember as a little boy the excitement of shopping for a new car with my father. Dad was a Chevrolet man. He always bought cars from the same dealership and the same salesman. We would walk the lot, climb into various models, review the stickers for price and features, and then dad would go into a little cubicle with the salesman and make the deal.

This was always a big event at our house. And yet, we always left the dealership without the new car. Dad would explain that the car had to be ordered. The color or special feature or exact model he wanted was not in stock. In the 1950’s most new car dealers only stocked a few examples of each model on their lots. The concept of inventory floor planning and instant consumer credit that became so ubiquitous was several decades away. We had to wait for the factory to produce and ship the car, typically four to six weeks, and my father had to arrange financing on his own. Those six weeks were always full of anticipation.

Needless to say this put a crimp in sales flow. When I bought my first new car in 1970 I clearly remember the difference between my experience and my fathers. I bought a 1970 Oldsmobile Toronado. The car was test driven, my old car traded, the deal negotiated, papers signed and I had the keys and was out of the dealer’s door with the new car in about one hour. The immediate benefit of instant gratification was obvious to me then, and is more obvious as a professional Marketing Consultant today.

Marketers know that instant performance is a huge Sales benefit. Weight Loss Products always include specific Performance Guarantees. Anti-Aging Skin Care Products show before and after photos of treated skin and include a time performance reference. Note how many products, from Car Polishes to Vitamins to Wellness Products use the word “Instant” in their Marketing Campaigns.

Instant Gratification is expected in today’s bustling Consumer Product Marketplace. Consumers will desert Retail stores that maintain even a small level of out of stock items. Advertised specials must be available, and in sufficient quantity to meet demand. The explosion of consumerism that began in the 1970’s has only been possible because the supply chain has expanded to support the consumers desire to purchase and enjoy Consumer Products immediately.

Furniture manufacturers have always had a difficult time fulfilling the “Instant Gratification” demand. Chairs and Sofas are available in hundreds of colors and upholstering options. Case goods come in many styles as well. No store can carry such a wide variety. Ikea solved this dilemma by creating the concept of Mass Marketed “knock down” Furniture. Ikea did not invent “knock down” Furniture, but they perfected the commoditization of the product and the opportunity for consumers to select from a wide assortment and instantly take the item home in their van or truck.

Tooth Whitening has become a big business in recent years. All of the major Oral Care companies, Procter & Gamble, Colgate and Unilever Market proprietary Brands of whiteners. Many shopping malls have storefronts that Sell Tooth Whitening services. Typically these products are used daily for up to 30 days to see results.

Recently I saw a Tokyo retailer that was offering a product called Makeup for Teeth. Like Lipstick or Eye Makeup, this product is painted onto the teeth each day and is removed each evening by brushing. Application of the product provides immediate whitening, “Instant Gratification”, not 30 day performance. The product is sweeping across Japan.

My Consumer Product Development and Marketing Consulting firm launches a number of new items for clients each year. We work in every Consumer Product category. In order to differentiate these products from larger competitors we often utilize a performance Feature and/or Benefit Marketing Campaign related to “Instant Gratification”. You must be able to demonstrate the utility of the product and substantiate the validity of the claim when using this Marketing Strategy. But it does work.

Author's Bio: 

Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money.

After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B.A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance.

Geoff Ficke and his consulting firm, Duquesa Marketing, ( has assisted businesses large and small, domestic and international, entrepreneurs, inventors and students in new product development, capital formation, licensing, marketing, sales and business plans and successful implementation of his customized strategies. He is a Senior Fellow at the Page Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Business School, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.