Want versus need – your customers’ choice

All marketing advisers harp on about finding out who your target market is. This is extremely true, and a little bit of customer analysis certainly wouldn’t go amiss to keep your focus on track. The aim of your business is to serve your customers, and having worked out what kind of customer you want, you then have to go about finding what your customer wants.

Customers aren’t interested in you. They couldn’t give a tinker’s toss about your business, how long it has been running, how good your sales are, whether you’ve met your end of year targets, etc, etc. This information is important to you, but not to them. Your customer is only interested in what they want. Not what they need (or what you think they need), but what they want.

People buy on want. They also buy on impulse, a special offer, getting something for nothing, getting a huge saving – as long as it is good for them. Customers are incredibly selfish, and if they can’t see how they are going to benefit from what you are offering, they will go elsewhere.

So you need to supply to their wants. You need to research into the latest fashions, crazes, must-haves or whatever, and provide those incentives, freebies, and fantastic deals to get their attention. Research into their lifestyles, explore their businesses, and find that gap or niche in the market that sets you apart from all the other businesses out there plying for their custom.

Remember the customer is king (or queen) and you must play on their natural selfishness. Very rarely do we go with need (except in an emergency), and in this materialistic world we are generally spoilt for choice. That’s why you need to think outside the box and create scenarios that offer a situation that works with want. For example, a slimmer will want to get down to size 10 so she can wear that little black dress; the home-styler will want those curtains because they match the furniture; the house-buyer will want that idyllic cottage out in the country; your customer should want your product or service because it will make their life better.

It’s also important to get your marketing material copy correct. I see so much literature that focuses on the business (I, I, me, me) and not the customer (you, you, you, you). Turn the tables and put yourself in your customers’ shoes, or better still, get a friend to act as a critical customer, so you can find the right words and images that will get their attention, strike home, educate what you are offering, and, above all, ply to your customer’s wants. And don’t forget the power of the headline, the importance of benefits rather than features, the enticement of the call to action and the necessity of clear contact details.

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