Instant Gratification: Must have or maybe just overhyped?

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment”

– Jim Rohn

The Power of Now

How long does it take your product to deliver on its promise?

If your answer is ‘a couple of weeks’, you need to change that.

Or at least that what the claim is!

But why?

Introducing instant gratification…

Say what?

Come on – I am sure most of you came across this term hundreds of times.

But just for the sake of consistency here is a formal definition from our good friend Neil Patel:

“Instant gratification is the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay or deferment. Basically, it’s when you want it; and you want it now”.

I know, there is much talk these days about the ‘age of impatience’… 

… and of course about the companies riding this trend by offering products that tap into 21st-century consumers’ universal desire for instant gratification.

A couple such examples?

Here you go:

Spoonrocket (on-demand lunch in 10 minutes)

Hanic DC Aqua (transparent white teeth makeup)

PostMates (any product from any store in an hour)

Toppik (hair building fibers for instant full thick hair)

Amazon Prime (one-day delivery)

FedEx (overnight package delivery)

And the list goes on.

Today’s question?

Is instant gratification a must have or maybe just overhyped?

Ok, let’s start digging…

The Case for Instant Gratification

So, why people think building instant gratification into your product has almost become a must have in today’s market?

Here are 3 reasons to get you started…

Reason #1: Is not just expected but demanded

Yep, in line with what we said before the conventional wisdom suggests that today’s customers:

a) Hate waiting (or at best have little tolerance for it)

b) More often than not expect instant results as a given

c) Have little to no loyalty and are happy to shop around until to get what they want

The moral of the story?

Deliver instant gratification or die.

Reason #2: It plays on your advantage (due to the hyperbolic discounting principle)

What’s that I hear you ask?

According to Joseph P. Redden: “Hyperbolic discounting refers to the tendency for people to increasingly choose a smaller-sooner reward over a larger-later reward as the delay occurs sooner rather than later in time.”

That’s right – the further away an outcome is delivered in the future, the smaller the drive to get that thing (the one that delivers it) now.

So, if our economists’ friends got this right and people have always had the tendency to prefer present rewards over future…

… someone might easily conclude that’s another valid reason to add this element it into our product mix.

But wait there is more!

Reason #3: It can help you stand out from the competition

And here the assumption is, that even though clearly is something people want, delivering it is easier said than done.

Hence, if achieved by a company it can become another barrier to competition seeking to come and eat your lunch!

Just think for a moment:

Company A delivers ‘product X’ in 3 weeks.

Company B delivers ‘product X’ in 1 week.

Which one would you pick?

Assuming that the ‘product X’ is indeed roughly the same in both cases, the answer becomes obvious, right?

And what’s even better according to the instant gratification supporters is that you can also typically charge more (as a premium) for …

… delivering value faster than the rest of the pack.

So, what do you think; is it about time to bake instant gratification into our product?


The Case Against Instant Gratification

Yep, there is another side to this story.

The one that suggests instant gratification is NOT ‘a must have’ but just another overhyped, outdated and counter-productive ‘sacred cow type of idea’ that we have to kill once and for all.

But why?

Here you go:

It denies customers an anticipation experience


That’s right – anticipation builds up excitement and by throwing it under the bus we’re shooting ourselves in the foot head.

Or as Pamela N. Danziger more eloquently put it:

While consumers say and believe that they want what they want when they want it, brands that cave to their demands for instant gratification may be doing their customers, and ultimately their brands, a disservice by stripping away the customers’ emotional anticipation for something wonderful to come”.

Just take the extreme example of Hollywood movies.

Why do you think producers put so much time, money and effort producing these expensive short film trailers/teasers months before the movie it’s released?

You guessed it – it is because is time-tested method to generate pre-release hype, buzz and excitement.

But anticipation doesn’t just stop in the pre-phase – in fact, it exists also during and after the purchase.

And the claim here is that if you give customers what they want (aka end-result) straight away you don’t allow them to fully appreciate the value they receive.

Which ultimately yes affects their overall satisfaction.

The worst part?

Instant gratification attracts the wrong type of customers…

Yes I am talking about the ones (aka delusional) that seek quick-fix solutions for everything because, well, that’s how life is supposed to be…

Or at least that’s what they think.


My take an all this?

Even though I have to say it’s a tough one and I can see the merits of both school of thoughts if I had to pick a camp I would probably go with the power of now.

Not necessarily because I buy the superficial argument that “you can either deliver instant gratification or die”, but mainly because I think you can play that card in a way that:

a) Doesn’t kill anticipation all together

b) Prevents the wrong type of people getting into your funnel

And with this said it’s time to put this post to bed with today’s key takeaways…

Today’s Key Takeaways

– The further away an outcome is delivered in the future, the smaller the drive to get it is

– Anticipation builds up excitement and excitement builds sales

– Today’s customers have little to no loyalty & are happy to shop around until to get what they want


Ok guys, that’s all from me for today.

If you enjoyed today’s post, check out my kindle book, The Aspiring Entrepreneur Entry Strategy: A practical step-by-step guide for finding a validated, winning business idea that stays true to who you are, that is currently available at Amazon.

I hope to see you soon.



“When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”

– Will Rogers

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