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Wednesday, 22 May 2013


Are you selling to needs or wants?

Are you selling to need or want?

It's a very important part of the research process to understand if you are selling to a need or a want.

Take bread as an example; it's a staple food and as people need food to live there is a clear need for bread.

So why are there so many different types of bread?

This is where customer want comes in. The customer may want it to be crunchy or soft, a roll, sliced, unleavened or with cheese on the top. Yes, the bread is a staple food but now we can see different types of bread that turn it from a product that is needed to make it a product is wanted.

When introducing a product to the customer it is important to establish the difference between the need and the want, so that the presentation can match.

need is something that is necessary for organisms to live a healthy life. Needs are distinguished from wants because a deficiency would cause a clear negative outcome, such as dysfunction or death. Needs can be objective and physical, such as food, or they can be subjective and psychological, such as the need for self-esteem.

Wants are often distinguished from needs. A need is something that is necessary for survival (such as food and shelter), whereas a want is simply something that a person would like to have.

Once we understand the distinction between needs and wants we need to take that and apply it to a product. Often in society we define products as necessary where there is no real life giving need. Needs are defined here more subjectively and the product is required in order for an area of life to be more enjoyable.

Let's use the ever faithful wine as an example. Some events may need wine, some may want it. A wine tasting has a fairly obvious requirement for wine in order to be a success. A dinner party on the other hand could use many other beverages and be successful, although wine may be wanted, it's not needed in order for the event to meet its purpose.

So how does this help us better understand our customers? 

If you can identify how your customers will use your products then you can start to understand where your customer will be coming from. With this information we can start looking at how your message can be brought to them. There is no point driving traffic and offering your product somewhere that is empty of customers to receive your message.


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Author: The Social Yeti
The Social Yeti is a happily married father of four. He helps businesses learn how to use social media to engage with their customers and increase their online presence. He's no Guru, but enjoys spending time in his cave, playing around with social media.Twitter, Facebook or Google+