target the ego more than any emotion

65% own more than one ferrari

This is the tenth of 20 daily THOUGHTS examining emotions in marketing

One of America’s most successful business identities was once asked about the key to truly great leadership. He responded by saying – ‘leave your ego at home’.

The fact is, however, few of us are able to leave our ego at home. Perhaps that is why there are so few truly great leaders. I suspect this to be the case.

Ego impacts every aspect of our lives including purchase behaviour and decisions. Of course, the ego can take many forms, for example:

  • Vanity
  • Jealousy
  • Pride
  • Envy
Whatever form it takes, ego is always present. To a large extent, it is a necessary part of being human. Ego reflects self-perception and self-perception impacts purchase behaviour, especially in terms of:
  • Perceived status
  • Perceived performance
  • Perceived worth

Understanding the impact that various manifestations of ego can have on purchase behaviour and decisions and how they might be leveraged to influence purchase decisions is a critical aspect of marketing in 2018.

Interestingly, the ego can be massaged, manipulated, and leveraged to influence purchase behaviour.
Research shows that some 65% of Ferrari owners own more than one Ferrari. Some 50% own five or more of such vehicles. This may be partly explained by the love of this magnificent example of automotive excellence. However, my experience suggests that it is far more influenced by the ego of the purchaser.

Ferraris can provide ego food in a number of ways including:

  • Making a statement – or a perceived statement about the individual’s virility
  • Making a statement – or perceived statement about the individual’s wealth
  • Making a statement – or perceived statement about the individual’s taste

While it is fair to suggest that owning five Ferrari’s makes a statement about an individual’s wealth, it says absolutely nothing about their taste or virility. However, all three represent ego food that many people (predominantly men) find appealing. Of course, the reality is that most will never get to drive the vehicles to their full potential (even if they have the skills) and they will almost certainly damage their vehicles by driving a performance vehicle slowly on suburban streets.

When Ferrari markets its vehicles, it knows that the engines are little more than something to talk about at dinner parties and that the real attraction is ego driven – or to satisfy the need to have the buyer’s ego fed.


Understand ego and use it where possible. They are few, if any, human motivators or irrational emotional responses more powerful than ego.

Consider all the manifestations of ego and leverage those that are most applicable to your product and brand. Remember that feeding the ego not only boosts sales but, in time, can be very effective in boosting margins. In many cases, the more buyers pay, the more their ego is fed. Few buyers want a cheap Ferrari – if there is such a thing – it is not at all satisfying.


Office Hacks, B2B Marketing, CMO, IntegriaIMS, Research Services, Business Jargon, Customer Behaviour, INC, Psychology Today, Chron, Influencer, Lucidchart, Hubspot, Marketing91, Guided selling, Shopify, Business to Community, Stakla, Ferrari Chat, Entrepreneur, Influencer and Forbes

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