Marketing Communications Leadership

    Forget about my needs — I want you to want me

    ‘Want’ trumps ‘need’ in marketing communication

    julian rogers
    Feb 26, 2017 · 5 min read
    original photo by B. Gruen, image art by The Juju Eye

    hat’s right. Want supersedes need in effective copywriting for marketing communication. If you’re focused on identifying customer/audience needs instead of what they want, you’re missing the boat. And sales.

    “A want is more powerful than a need”

    Len Smith, copywriting guru

    Didn’t I see you crying?

    Motivation aside, there is something even more important to satisfying your audience’s wants more than needs: your bottom line. If you focus your content on satisfying your prospect’s needs, they will more often than not only buy the lowest cost solution that meets those needs. That’s a race to the bottom.

    You want to address their wants. You need to address their wants.

    That is, if you even get their attention long enough to get them to take immediate action, at all. That’s the other fundamental problem. Getting someone to read your copy and agree that, “yeah, I need to that” is really only half the battle won, at most.

    Ask yourself this: How often do you consume content that speaks truth to you, but you don’t immediately do what it recommends? Do you plan your taxes every time you’re reminded? Do you create a living will when you read a powerful headline? Do you always remember to thank your loved ones when you see them?

    Probably not.

    The problem with these great, timely prompts that speak to important needs is that they’re all competing for your time and attention. There’s too many. And you’re not a snowflake in that regard. We triage incoming stimuli all the time. This is true for everyone.

    The way to cut through that clutter is to tap into your audience’s wants.

    I’d love you to love me

    Stimuli barrage = inertia. We all have needs. Long-term. Short-term. Daily. Abstract. Concrete. New. Old. What makes us move? Invigorating our wants.

    To keep you reading, I need to tap into your emotions. And I will by sharing a motivational secret with you shortly. You must tap into your audience’s emotions to keep them reading, which will hopefully keep them engaged in your coming call to action. We both need to speak on the screen like a person talking to another person. I hope you will forget that we are communicating via a filter: the screen you’re staring at right now.

    If I’m going to do that, I’m much better off using short, simple sentences with short, simple words — like we’re talking. You have permission to flaunt the rules a little bit. Go ahead. Start a sentence with “and” or “but.” You can do it. And it will work. Why? Because it signals we’re having a conversation. And a conversation paves the way for an emotional connection between prey and hunter — I’m sorry — two people, than will a finely tuned, highly rational, and otherwise stiff speech.

    Throw in some contractions. Spice it up with a little slang — sparingly. Do just enough to make it conversational. A little humor? Maybe. If it’s good. But keep in mind that humor is very personal and often has a short shelf life.

    Like everything, it’s easier said than done. No problem. Just write it out. Then, make a pass through your copy with the idea of simplifying it. Write it, then make it more conversational in your edits.

    I’m begging you to beg me

    Talking about wants is talking about emotion. Much has been written about the role of emotion in copywriting. Here’s the one dirty secret about humans and their decision-making — and it’s as true for business decision-making as it is for personal decision-making: we decide using emotion first, and then rationalize it later.

    If you address your audience’s wants, they’ll rationalize a reason why they should keep the conversation going and ultimately buy from you. They’ll come to you once you’ve opened that door.

    Of course, you must address both types of behavior in your copywriting — needs and wants. Your left brain should take care of coming up with all the features and benefits statements. Those are the basics. The magic comes in the wants. Identify what your reader wants and speak to it. Add emotional triggers to have a profound effect on conversions and sales performance.

    So you have your features. You got your benefits. Now you need to make clear:

    • “What’s in it for me?”
    • “How is my life going to get better?”
    • “How will this help me get ahead?”

    Answer one or more of these and your audience will rationalize why they now need the features and benefits of your product or service.

    And it’s just as applicable to B2B copywriting as it is for B2C copywriting. Remember, business people do not have two heads. (Some do not even have one, but I digress.) Business people will respond to an on-target message that addresses their real wants — just like consumers.

    And that’s how I want you to shape your copy. It’s no cheap trick. It works.

    © julian rogers | Juju Eye Communications

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    Marketing Communications Leadership

    Real takes on marketing + communications + leadership

    julian rogers

    Written by

    Maker of words and other annoyances. Communicator for hire. Unaffordable. Owner of Juju Eye Communications + publisher of The Hit Job. Twitter: (@thejujueye).

    Marketing Communications Leadership

    Real takes on marketing + communications + leadership

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