We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Consumers aren’t buying lamps, they’re buying light. They’re not buying weight-loss programmes; they’re buying self-confidence. And they’re not buying organic broccoli; they’re buying good health.
In short, your ideal customers are interested in the results you’re selling—far more than the specific products and services you have to offer.
That’s how mediocre products outsell premium ones: Their brands’ marketing strategies appeal to their target audiences by selling the end result, rather than the initial purchase.
So, what does that translate to for your brand’s marketing strategy?
You’ve got to find out what your ideal customer really wants. You’ve got to understand that no matter who they are, they don’t want to buy your product to help you out, but rather, to serve their own self-interest.
And your massive challenge now is to uncover what that self-interest is—even if they don’t know for themselves—so you can speak to that with your marketing strategy.
A Marketing Strategy that Answers a Very Important Question
Whether a consumer is browsing ecommerce sites or walking through the aisles of their favourite shop, he or she is looking for the answer to one big question: What’s in it for me?
This is self-interest, and it’s what drives every purchase that ever has been, and every purchase that ever will be.
A cup of coffee from Starbucks gives its purchaser an energy boost, a pleasant flavour and inclusion in a “club” that feels exclusive.
A pair of shoes from Nike motivates physical activity and makes their buyer feel more athletic and more capable.
Yes, it’s just a cuppa and just a pair of sneakers; however, what the buyers of these products experience as a result of their purchase goes far beyond that. They are netting significant value—value that, in their view, exceeds the time and money they’re spending.
And how have they calculated that value? Well, it’s based on the messages that the marketers of these products have created.
The marketing teams for Nike and Starbucks have tapped into the self-interests of their target audiences to create marketing campaigns that feed those self-interests. They have correctly answered their ideal customer’s question: What’s in it for me?
So your job, now, is to determine what self-interests your ideal customers are clinging to, so you can hit that spot and satisfy them with your product or service.
Here are some questions you can ask to create a marketing strategy that works:
- What emotion are they craving? The right purchase will stir up an emotion that your ideal customer has been yearning for. And then your brand gets all the credit! Talk to your audience and find out what they’re looking for. Do they want joy? Or do they want to feel acceptance or confidence? How about revenge, triumph or love?
- How do they define success? Success isn’t always about business achievement and profit. For many, it’s about getting through a day without submitting to a vice, or having a little more room under that waistband, or holding their temper in a stressful situation.
- How do they define value? What’s valuable to John means nothing to Sue. One man’s trash is another’s treasure. Value is only measurable on a individual basis, and unique people assign unique value to results.
- What are their goals? Everyone has goals, even if they haven’t taken the time to name those goals. Your ideal customer’s main objective could be to get out of bed without pain tomorrow morning. Or, it could be something as simple as receiving a smile from a stranger.
- What hurts them? Maybe your ideal customer is highly susceptible to criticism about their intellect. Or, maybe he or she is self-conscious about their wardrobe. Know what hurts them, so you can counteract it with the benefits you’ll communicate through your marketing strategy.
Here’s the main point I want to drive home with you:
It can be easy to believe, especially when you’re first starting out, that people will want to buy your products and services based on quality alone, or because they want to “help you out.”
I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but that’s a pipe dream.
Your customers, no matter how selfless they may seem, are still only going to spend money with you if the main benefit you’re offering serves their own self-interest.
It’s that simple.
It’s not about you.
It’s about what you can do for them.
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