Every business is in the business of solving problems, but more often than not, we see those problems differently than our customers do. We tend to look at the problems we solve through the lens of features that we offer, rather than the benefits they provide.
What really motivates your customer to buy?
For example, if you sell insoles, it would be easy to think that you solve the problem of sore feet, but what about an aching back, or being cranky at work? Your customers use and enjoy your products for many different reasons. Your job is to constantly be peeling back the layers to understand them better.
Social media is one of those unique places where these skills pay off more than ever. In the realm of social, customers are more connected and more public than they ever have been before. The business that truly understands its customers will ultimately have an easier time building audience, and generating online conversations with its fans.
To begin this process, I think we really need to understand the things that motivate customers to buy. I've broken it down into four key factors.
1. Fulfill a Need
This is the most obvious of the four. People are motivated to buy something because they need or want it. People need things like food, clothing, or water, but they also want things like TVs and computers. When it comes time for them to make a purchase, they will seek out someone that can fulfill that need.
2. Provide a Service
Similarly, they will do the same when they are in need of a professional service. This could be window cleaning, lawn care, or even taxidermy. Services provide valuable assistance to the purchasers. They are motivated to buy because of this need of services.
3. Alleviate a Frustration
This category includes some of the most common sales triggers like saving time and money. Customers are motivated to purchase when they are frustrated by the effect something has on their life. For example, snow removal or lawn care services fall into this category. These services help remove nuisances from our lives by alleviating a frustration.
4. Provide Pleasure
In some cases, purchases are made for purely pleasurable purposes. A customer desires to be entertained, so they buy cable TV subscriptions, big screen TVs, and console games. Often times, these are emotionally based decisions that can vary widely amongst different types of people.
It would be pretty rare for a business to find any of it's customers in only one of these categories. A customer might need a TV (Fulfill a Need), but the large screen plasma is probably more of a pleasure purchase (Provide Pleasure). That aside, most purchases are motivated heavily by one of these factors. As you begin to understand your customers, you should be categorizing them into these segments so that you better understand their motivation for buying.
The Social Customer
In the socially connected world, brands need to be more in touch with their customer than ever before. So much of your marketing message is now controlled by them! They can leave reviews about your business online, they can brag (or complain) about you on their Facebook page, or they can leave a permanent wrinkle in your universe with a negative blog post. This kind of stuff happens every day. They are one of the most influential forces in your marketing arsenal - you'd better know them well!