To the Pain

Pressure“To the pain,” The Effective Detective said, glancing over at me.

“Are we discussing movie quotes in general then or just The Princess Bride?” I replied, not knowing how else to respond to such a statement.

“No, Watson, although it was quite the enjoyable movie wasn’t it?” replied The Detective, continuing on before I could respond, “No, we are discussing marketing to the pain.”

“Marketing to the pain, sir?” now I was intrigued.

“Marketing to the pain, Watson. You see, when we start out defining our market we typically start with demographics – age, marital status, number of children, etc.  or if selling to business, we begin with prosaics like annual sales, number of employees, and the like. These are excellent starting points, and it helps us define an identifiable group. The problem begins when we start to write our copy, or sculpt our pitch,” The Detective paused, obviously wanting me to ask the obvious question.

“And that problem would be sir?” I obliged.

“Excellent question Watson, we will no doubt get through today’s topic in record time!” The Detective exclaimed, giving me that slight smile that told me he was, once again, pressing my buttons. “The problem is that we sometimes sell to the characteristics – “You’re young, 25 to 34 and you have 2 point 2 kids, shouldn’t you be considering blah, blah.

“We forget that people buy based on emotion, and that emotion comes from one of two situations – running away from pain, or running toward pleasure. Of the two, running away from pain is generally the more powerful emotion generator. Most of us have been trained from childhood to be able to defer pleasure, especially the types that might deplete our bank account slightly. Pain on the other hand, who can fault someone from running from pain?” The Detective took a breath.

“So we can focus on a particular market that is most likely to suffer from that pain, but our words can ignore that and concentrate on the pain itself, drawing in others from outside of the market as well?” I interjected before The Detective could start again.

“Excellent Watson, you are learning! I don’t think I could have said it better myself. Once again, first, define who you will be talking to – your market, but write or speak to the emotion – market to the pain. I do believe we have made our point today,” The Detective beamed.

“Short and to the point, sir. Just as our copy should be,” I finished.

“Quite so, Watson, quite so.”

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