Strategies: Match marketing to customers' needs, desires

ByABC News
March 7, 2008, 5:08 AM

— -- If I asked you, "Why do your customers buy your product or service?" could you tell me? If I probed further and challenged you, "And why do they buy from you?" do you think you'd have a really good understanding of their true reasons?

Sure, you might answer, "Because they need what I offer, and I provide good value." Fair enough. But WHY do they need what you offer? Why do they consider YOU to provide good value?

Most of us are so busy producing our products and services, running the day-to-day operations of our companies, that we gradually lose touch with the real needs, desires, and choices of our customers. We don't really understand what's going on with them when they make a purchasing decision.

To increase sales and grow your business, you have to get inside your customers' heads. What are their needs and wants? Not just the obvious ones, but the deeper needs and desires that compel them to make a purchase?

What makes your customers buy? Customers may think they need or want one thing, but sometimes they actually need or want something very different. A sales executive might spend hundreds of dollars to fly first class because they believe they need the extra room to work when what they're really looking for is the status they get from sitting in the front of the plane.

Consider these four kinds of needs and desires that drive customers to buy as you develop your advertising, marketing, and sales pitches:

1. Actual Immediate Need. These are short-term needs that customers must respond to immediately: "I'm hungry on a 30-minute lunch break;" "My phone system crashed and I can't do business." This type of customer will do little comparison shopping before buying.

If your customers are like this:

Advertise constantly. You've got to be in front of them exactly when they need something.

Good places to advertise are your local newspaper, yellow pages and buying key words on search engines.

In your ads and sales pitches, emphasize fast service, convenience and price.