Small Business Marketing - Meet Your Customers' Wants

You just started your own business and you’re creating a small business marketing plan. You may already have created a great product. At least you think it’s a great product. But, is there a customer base for it? Or, is your product name effective? Do you know what your target market’s ‘wants’ are?

Marketing studies are showing that in order to sell effectively, you need to know what’s motivating your potential customer to make the choices he does. This means you need to know what your potential customer wants.
People buy what they need, want, or desire. But, ‘when push comes to shove,’ people buy what they want, rather than what they need.

So, you need to determine what it is your potential customer wants and craft your small business marketing strategy around that.

Suppose you’re selling a book on ‘alternative health.’

Many people may know they should look into alternative health options, maybe find an acupuncturist or naturopathic doctor, but if you don’t promote your product to their ‘want’ it won’t motivate the prospect to buy. 

So, what does it mean to promote to a customer’s want, rather than his need.

Well, instead of promoting your alternative health book by explaining that Western medicine may not meet their health needs and that it’s important to address the underlying causes, rather than just the symptoms of illnesses, tell the potential customer that alternative options will allow him to regain his health and vitality. Tell him how this product will actually alleviate his problem. Do you see the difference?

Please be aware though that the above example is just that, an example. In your small business marketing you must always be honest and never, ever make guarantees in regard to someone’s health. Your product or service must be of value and it must fulfill your marketing claims.

As the example demonstrates, people buy based on feelings: Will the product or service make me feel, look, or smell better? Will it help me learn something, or earn more money? Will it get rid of my pain?  Will it make me a better golfer? And, it’s your job to answer the relevant questions effectively.

Watch just about any TV commercial. The marketers are selling an image. They’re selling to the viewer’s wants. Think of clothing commercials. Some don’t even have words; you simple watch a beautiful or handsome model wearing the product. You want to look like the model in those clothes, whether consciously or subconsciously. This motivates you to buy those clothes. The ad is addressing a ‘want.’

Just as a chef prepares a meal for both the taste and visual appeal of a dish, so must a marketer present his product or service in a manner that will be appealing on all fronts to the target market.

Your small business marketing must address your potential customer’s ‘what’s in it for me’ (WIIFM) question appealingly and effectively.



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Sherry Ellis said...

Very good post! I found out about your blog through Suzanne Drasic's Random Act of Kindness post. Glad I did!

Karen Cioffi said...

Hi, Sherry, It's so nice to meet you. I'm glad you found the post interesting and thanks for letting me know how you found my blog!

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen! Very informative post. Thank you for sharing the example you used for the alternative health book. It made me stop and think about what things attract me to certain books I've bought.

Janet Johnson said...

I found you through Suzanne, too. :)

I think answering that "Want" question is true for so many things!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I found you through Suzanne too. :D

Great article! You have to think about what the customer wants and how to fill that need when you are starting a small business. There is no point in starting a scrapbooking business if there are three in your town already (even if you really love scrapbooking).

Karen Cioffi said...

Susanne, I like to use examples because I find I can grasp things better when I'm presented with examples. Thanks for stopping by!

Karen Cioffi said...

Janet, It's so nice to meet you. It seems Susanne's post today is making an impact! :) Thanks for stopping by!

Karen Cioffi said...

Sharon, Thank you and it's nice to meet you! What's funny is just about everyone in the writing business is trying to sell either a book or service, that's makes us all marketers. And, it's important to know who to market to.

Great example of the scrapbooking business if the area is already over-saturated.

Thanks for stopping by!

Martha@SeasideSimplicity said...

Coming from Suzanne's place and following :)

Karen Cioffi said...

Martha, Thank you so much. It's appreciated!

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I also found your blog by way of Suzanne. And I'm glad that I did. Great to read this marketing perspective.

Karen Cioffi said...

Cynthia, so nice to meet you. I'm so glad you found the post interesting.

Thanks a bunch for stopping by!

Karen Cioffi said...


Glad you found the tips helpful. Thanks for stopping by.