Today, I want to talk to you about NEED and VALUE.
Because these two concepts are really the cornerstones of marketing, especially relationship marketing (which is the type of marketing that we do around here).
How are the two related?
And what do they have to do with making people want your product?
(By the way – when marketers use the word product, we’re talking about a good, a service, or even a more complex offering that is a combination of the two.)
People want something if they value it.
And the more they value it, the more they’re willing to pay for it.
But what makes them actually value it? Simply, it’s because the product meets one or more of their needs – in other words, because it satisfies a desire or soothes a pain.
As a marketer, it’s my job to: (a) understand the needs of your suspects, prospects, and customers; and (b) demonstrate to them how your products help meet those needs.
This seems simple.
And I suppose it is.
However, behind this platitude is a whole lifetime of learning.
Anyway, this is more or less what I do all day, every day. I spend a lot of time learning about lists of suspects, prospects, and/or customers, understanding what their needs are, and then writing emails that talk to these needs and demonstrate how our clients’ products help satisfy them. That’s how I build value and create demand.
Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned over the last few years:
- Human needs are complex and deep.
- Most products meet multiple “lower-order” (physiological and safety) and “higher-order” (belonging, esteem, and self-actualisation) needs. (See Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory.)
- The more your product helps to satisfy higher-order needs, the more its perceived value. (For example: people will pay a LOT more for an outfit that increases their perceived socioeconomic status than for one that merely keeps them warm, dry, and comfortable – as every clothing brand knows.)
- However, when appealing to higher-order needs, one needs to do so implicitly. (Who wants to admit – even to themselves – that they buy clothing in order to boost their self-esteem and project their socioeconomic status? This is the reason why copy that speaks to these needs explicitly often comes across as clumsy, “salesy”, or sometimes even manipulative.)
- The highest-order needs (i.e. those related to self-actualisation) are insatiable. Affluent people will never stop spending money to try and meet these needs, and the more affluent they become, the more their hunger rages.
A final thought for you:
Let’s say your company sells the proverbial “widget” to other organisations. You might think that these five lessons outlined above don’t apply to your business.
But you’d be wrong.
Because even in business-to-business sales, decisions are always made by people, and these people – just like everyone else in the world, including you and I – make decisions in order to meet a complex assortment of lower- and higher-level needs.
This single insight could be the foundation of an effective email marketing strategy.