One of the guiding rules I have heard among oenophiles is this: if you like the wine, it’s a good wine. This brings up a really interesting point on people’s preferences, the differences between subjectivity and objectivity, and how that affects the purchase process and in turn the marketing we design to influence purchase.

Many people either can’t or won’t make the distinction between liking something and judging its quality. ‘If I like it, then it must be good’ is perhaps one view. Think about a piece of musical genre, or a sporting style, a movie, a wine, or any B2B or B2C product or service you come into contact with. It’s unusual to hear someone say ‘it’s good, but I don’t like it’, or ‘it’s not a great product, but I like it.’

Most reviews of restaurants, movies, books or other products tend to be either a number of stars, which is a quality attribution, and a thumb or thumbs up, which for me means whether or not they like it, but which could also be construed as a quality recommendation. Quality should be an objective thing, whereas liking something, or not, should be purely subjective. I would like to see more reviews that make a distinction between the two. I’m interested in your opinion, and that means you telling me why it’s good and why you like it. I value your view and that’s why the why is important to me.

So when it comes to marketing and sales, we need to figure out what is important to our customer:

– do they distinguish between I like and It’s Good?

– what would help us find this out?

– do both I like and It’s Good have to be in place for us to be able to positively influence their purchasing behaviour?

– do we want to sell to the I Likes or the It’s Goods?

I think the answer to all these questions is it depends, and is something you should figure out for your own situation.