Monday, March 27, 2006

Marketing to Customer Needs and Wants

We all use the words "wants" and "needs" when we focus on customer strategies.

If we're doing our work right, we address these wants and needs with our products, our branding and our promotions. We get to using these two words a bit carelessly and almost interchangeably.

But there is a vital distinction. Needs tend to be more objective requirements while wants are more emotional.

I want sweets but I need vitamins.

I need to be a great presenter because I want to make a lot more money.

It is often more productive to market to a customer's wants because they are more subjective and self-activating ... they lead to action. They are qualities that we can appeal to.

If you happen to market a mature product that is a need, you are likely closer to a commodity. The best path is to convert a need into a want so that you can appeal to the individual's emotional desires.

Together, wants and needs help set each of us in a direction. They help us understand what the customer values most. Collectively, they form the context into which we must insert our marketing messages.

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