Why your marketing needs greed.

Remember Michael Douglas’ character, Gordon Gekko, from the 1987 film “Wall Street?”

Gordon was facing a room full of stockholders when he famously quipped, ” .”

That quote actually inspired Wall Street power players. And understandably, the statement was condemned by those who find greed abhorrent.


I agree with Gordon Gekko. Let me explain why.

Greed Is the Bedrock of Marketing

First, you probably have heard of the acronym, WIIFM. It stands for “What’s In It For Me?” The bottom line is that people only care about themselves. They don’t care about you, your business, or your product/service.

They only care if your product/service will help them get what they want. And it’s not only solving a problem. There are secret desires every person has, such as:

  • Looking better than the other woman or man
  • Appearing more successful than one’s neighbor
  • Belonging to an elite group that doesn’t just accept anyone
  • Being in control
  • Knowing more than the other guy or possessing secret knowledge

Those are just a few emotional drivers your prospective buyer has. There are also desires such as looking smarter than everyone else. Owning the best. Gaining power, dominance, and influence.

And what ultimately drives everyone to acquire more? Greed.

Find a Hungry Crowd

It doesn’t matter that their hamburger is the tastiest one around. Or that it’s always served piping hot and juicy. Or that it’s a very fair deal for the price. If your crowd isn’t interested in eating hamburgers, it won’t matter.

So first, you have to find the right crowd for what you’re selling. You also have to find a crowd of greedy people.

Let’s say you were trying to sell a sandwich to a vegetarian crowd. A beef burger wouldn’t go over well. But what about an Impossible Burger that is plant-based?

And what if your business highlighted the fact that you only source vegetables locally and that everything is ethically grown without any harmful chemicals?

Now you’ve got the vegetarian’s attention. Especially if your product tastes delicious.

If it’s weight loss supplements, you need to find a group of people greedy to look great.

If it’s a SaaS platform, you need to find a group of people greedy to find the best solution so they can impress their boss.

If it’s consultative, you need to find a group of people greedy to operate leaner and get better clients, so they can be successful.

What Makes People Buy?

Ah, this is the age-old question every marketer and salesperson has asked. The bottom line is that people buy what they desire. They buy with their heart and then justify it with their mind. It’s not that logic doesn’t play a part in the buying decision. It’s that logic is only considered after a seller has appealed to the buyer’s heart.

Your prospective buyer may buy to appear as part of the fandom—and achieve a sense of belonging while doing it.

They buy so they can brag to their family that they have enough disposable income to purchase a pricey vehicle.

They buy to make themselves look smart. Or look like they care about the planet. Or have deep beliefs that are supported by the company they’ve chosen to do business with.

The point is, nothing would ever change for anyone unless a fierce desire or a burning need lit a fire inside that eventually kicked their keister into action.

Greed Is Good… For You

The bottom line is that your prospective buyer is looking for something to fill the void. The void could be looking good to their boss, or finally catching the attention of the person of their dreams. People want what they want. Your mission is to entice them to slow down and consider your product or service. You use words to attract them and cause them to think what life would be like with your solution in their life.

People are greedy. They see no problem with desiring a better life.

How are you satisfying that?


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