Are You Selling Water Or Diamonds?

By Geoff Martin, - In Marketing

Picture of a lot of diamonds

In starting three profitable businesses, my advice, both preached and practiced is this: *always ask yourself if you are selling water or diamonds*. It is a marketing theory known as the water-diamond paradox. Water is a daily necessity, diamonds are not. Nevertheless, we put a high price on diamonds but not water. This raises the question, *how do we measure value?* The answer lies in availability. Value comes not from the need but from the value placed by consumers.

If your service/product is water—great! You fill a need! But, it might not sell because it’s not valued enough to be attractive, much less purchase-worthy of the consumer. So then you make it a little more like a diamond: somewhat less available, raise the price slightly, make it exclusive, limit release or place it with another prized product.

What if you are selling a diamond product? Though your product is presented as a diamond it may not sell immediately. Why is that? If it has yet to be possessed, then value has yet to be added. Now, make it a little more like water: possibly offer a lesser version that consumers are able to realistically attain, while withholding the greater until it takes off. Another course of action is to make the product/service appear as a necessity, similar to the diamond industry’s lure with weddings.

Selling either water or diamonds is possible. However, you have to disguise your water as a precious stone and transform your diamonds into a necessity to see mobility occur in your business.

Written by Beret Kirkeby

Beret is an entrepreneur and small business owner in NYC who runs a  rehabilitory massage clinic, Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage NYC. Before BMOM, he owned a smaller therapy business and a large gourmet food retail store in Canada.

Image credit: kimberlyeternal


Geoff Martin