“What’s in it for me?”

The benefits need to be clear, concrete, personal. They must answer the simple question: “What’s in it for me?” When Americans make a purchase the key driver is the personal utility of the good or service.

This practical understanding of value is rooted in the United States’ most important contribution to the field of philosophy. Although Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America writes: “I think that in no country in the civilized world is less attention paid to philosophy than in the United States,” the U.S. became the birthplace of pragmatism.

American thinkers Charles Sanders Pierce, John Dewey and Henry James believed that the meaning and truth of an idea is a function of its observable practical consequences. All ideas are hypotheses which must prove themselves through experience. Statements are validated through action and consequences. Americans prefer practical success – benefit – over principles.