One of the things decent marketers do when developing a new campaign is to put themselves in their target audience’s “shoes.”
They imagine themselves as someone who’s looking for a new house, a restaurant, a haircut or even a literal new pair of shoes. And the first thoughts are naturally something along the lines of: “What can I offer someone in that situation?”
That’s what decent marketers do. What exceptional marketers do goes one step further. They ask: “What is the source of my audience’s pain?”
This is often called “pain point marketing.” Instead of focusing on what your business can provide someone in a certain situation, it involves alleviating that which is causing the most discomfort by being in that situation. Common pain points for consumers are:
- Time requirements
- Lack of accessible information
Pain point marketing involves addressing these specific problems from the consumer’s point of view, rather than rattling off a list of things a business provides. Each of just about any business’s competitors offers just about the same thing, but how does what you offer directly alleviate that which the potential client or customer is most concerned about?
To arrive at this solution, a marketer has to go beyond being in the audience’s shoes. He or she must get into the client/customer’s inner monologue, into the conversation going on inside their heads about what is causing them grief, anxiety and sleepless nights.
Imagine yourself as the owner of a business that provides solar panels, an industry that not everyone knows in and out. Putting yourself in your prospect’s shoes will tell you that he or she probably wants to save some money on utility bills and/or might be concerned about the environment.
But what are their pain points? Initial cost is probably one, so businesses like this are quick to advertise the long-term savings. But the cost is only one pain point. In an industry that’s relatively new or is largely unfamiliar to the general public, there are more. What else is the consumer worried the most about?
How big are these panels? What color are they? How invasive to my home life is installation going to be? What will my neighbors think? What if one is damaged by a storm?
Every solar-panel company is going to market the long-term savings, but not every company will address these other, specific pain points with their marketing. When you go to the doctor, you’re asked, “Where does it hurt?” You’re not asked, “Where does it hurt the most?” The good doctor doesn’t want to just heal what hurts the most; he or she wants to heal ALL the pains.
The question, likewise, for the marketer shouldn’t be: “What hurts the most?” It should be: “How many ways can I make this hurt less?”
That’s the essence of pain point marketing. And it’s great to put yourself in other people’s shoes – if only their feet are hurting them. All marketers do that. To separate yourself from every other marketer, you also have to move beyond the feet and cure every other ache and pain they might be feeling.
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