Do You Know Why Your Customers Buy From You?

Neon On Sale sign

I was really just going in the store to find an electric can opener.  It seemed to me that this very large, warehouse megastore was the best place to go and probably where I would get the best price.  I had really just intended to pop in, make my purchase and leave, it would only take about fifteen minutes.  As I walked down the isles looking from left to right, my attention was drawn to a sign.  It was not a sign that was overly colorful or large, I just caught its image out of the corner of my eye.  This product now had my full focus and best of all, as the sign informed me, it was on sale.  For a 25% price reduction, I could own an electric stapler.  What a great deal!  Even though my most practical, logical mind told me, “David, you don’t need this,” I still picked it up and put it in the cart.  I was sold.

Now tell the truth, you’ve been there too.  They call it impulse buying, and retail stores tailor their product locations and merchandizing just to hook us into impulse buying.  It is an extremely successful marketing strategy.

But what are the real reasons I bought that electric stapler?

Economists say that we purchase a product or service for two reasons: to increase pleasure or to decrease pain.  But it really is a great deal more complicated than that and psychiatrists would even go so far as to say that there are messages going on in our subconscious that can at times override our logical thinking resulting in an action we didn’t anticipate and may not be able to fully explain.

This is why it gets tricky from a marketing perspective.  How in the world do you create a marketing message that will resonate and create a reason to take action and purchase your product or service when your customer doesn’t even know the reason they are making that purchase?

There is not a simple answer here.  The most significant action you can take is to actually ask your customer why they purchased from you.  This may not be realistic, feasible, or may be simply too expensive to undertake, so you also need to apply a little psychology and a smattering of common sense.  Most importantly, actually commit to writing down the reasons people buy from you.

These reasons fall into two categories.

First is the actual attributes of your product or service.  It is best to be as specific as you can but here would be some more general examples:

  • Your product or service has the best price or value
  • Your product or service is the most technologically advanced or is proprietary so that no other competitor can match it
  • Your product or service is perceived as having the best quality
  • Your product or service meets a specific niche need
  • Your product or service has a track record of high performance
  • Your product or service makes an activity easier or more efficient to do

The second reason would be emotional motivators or the feelings that generate the action to purchase.  Here again are very general examples:

  • There is an emotion they are dealing with that the purchase will resolve such as fear, anger, regret, joy, sorrow, anxiety, or concern
  • Your product or service makes them feel better about themselves
  • Your product or service matches a cause or belief they are passionate about
  • Your product or service fulfills the need to compete with others
  • Your product or service provides instant gratification

By being very specific about the product attributes and emotional motivators behind why your customers buy from you, you can then begin to tie your marketing message and communications back to these and have a better chance of getting their attention.

Best of luck and if you find you could use some help with this, drop us a note.

David, the new owner of an electric stapler.

The CMO Outsource