Marketing consultant Michael LeBoeuf once said, “The only two things people buy are good feelings and solutions to problems”.
This means people buy for two reasons only:
- they want the product or service – they want it because the product is desirable or it provides a benefit they desire, or
- they need the product or service – it offers something they must have or perceive they must have in order to solve a problem
Understanding this concept of needs vs. wants and the triggers (what makes a person buy) that go along with them is critical for bringing in more leads, and also moving these leads through your funnel.
From the consumer world, needs could include rent/mortgage payments, bills paid, a medical operation, a new washing machine or a car repair. Wants would include a Rolls Royce, a yacht, a 1-year trip around the world or $500,000 in the bank.
But what about the world of science and technology?
Scientists aren’t motivated as much by wants. When they request information about your product, it’s because they’re looking for a solution to their problem. They need your product for their research.
They buy for logical reasons based on needs, because they have to justify their purchase to others. The trick is to find out the strongest need that your product can satisfy… and then promote the heck out of it.
But… a scientist may also be motivated by things he wants for himself, his lab, his department, his research etc.
Now he may not be influenced as much by this want, but it will play a factor in his buying decision.
In fact, Bob Bly, in his excellent ebook, Marketing Triggers, says that business and technical marketing communications are most effective in the following order:
- Marketing that satisfies a need and a want
- Marketing that satisfies a need
- Marketing that satisfies a want
So, the most powerful communications stress both needs and wants, while the next most powerful satisfy needs only.
Scientists may need your product to solve a specific problem, but they also want to look good to their supervisor, have the most up-to-date and advanced equipment, to be informed, productive, to be recognized and to be successful.
If you can appeal to both needs and wants, your communications will be much more effective.
I saw an example of this recently. A company selling microscopes highlighted the use of their instruments in research that was published in Nature on 3 occasions over the last 4 years.
While they were not suggesting their products would guarantee a publication in Nature, the recognition of being published in a top journal is a strong motivator, though it’s purely based on a want, rather than a need.
So your communications will be effective if you can show how your product solves a specific problem.
But there are 2 ways you can make it better:
- Focus on a major need, rather than a minor one.
For instance, the fact that your new molecular modelling software for pharmaceutical scientists automatically backs up everything to the cloud is more important than the new graphical workflow interface it offers (because most of your competitors are offering something similar) or the fact that it makes design easier.
- If your product can also satisfy a want (as well as a need), it’ll be much better.
You could promote the fact that your software also keeps the user informed of developments in the field of drug design, thus satisfying the want of sounding smart and being informed, up-to-date and thus more successful.
Bottom line: you can accelerate your lead generation and reach your audience more effectively when you speak to both their needs AND wants.
Failing that, you need to promote a major need in your product and stress the corresponding features.
Until next time,