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Want v. Need

imageDon’t think, because people might need what you want to sell, that they will want to buy.  Being needy is not attractive and none of us wants to feel unattractive.  Being needy is dull and definitely not sexy.  People’s emotions play a much bigger part in the buying decision than common sense so whilst you do need to tackle the rational buying decisions, it is more important to gauge and tap into the psychological ones.

So what is it, exactly, that will make your target client feel better about his or herself? What lights his or her fire?  What words describe the emotional triggers?  Find out and use them in your copy.

So how do you manage to make your sales sexy without offending Grundyism?  Well here are some famous ones ….

Mars – a Mars a day helps you work, rest and play.

Cornetto – just one …

Martini – any time, any place, any where …

Walkers Crisps – No more Mr Nice Guy.

Milk Tray – and all because the lady loves …

Tango – you know when you’ve been ….

It is worth studying what the promotional gurus have captured about their target audience, what they are selling and the position these brands have in the market place. Of course these are all consumer products but if you want business to buy your services, you still need to consider the psychological reasons for buying.  I can think of many of my clients that could apply similar strap lines to their B2B enterprises.

Please feel free to add your local real life examples …



  1. Thought provoking blog – you forgot ooops! trust us to make it better
    Anyway, taking the strand away from consumer products – I need a new government and I want a new government; I’m ready to purchase/vote!


  2. Nicely promoted Paul!

    And on your second point – what ‘psychological wants’ would you suggest an other political party should tap into to secure the deal next year?


  3. Intersting question! This is a big issue in modern marketing. Maslow (the father of “motivation theory”, for this is what we are discussing here) never distinguished between needs and wants. I agree. If you want something badly enough then you NEED it (as far as YOU are concerned). i.e. I “need” a holiday, I “need” a tumble-dryer, etc. If you really need something, then obviously you WANT it.

    From a sustainability point of view we are in (or approaching) a point when all reasonable needs are being met, so only wants remain. (We don’t need 100+ TV channels, but we obviously want them or the TV people wouldn’t keep putting them out, for example). Same with different flavours of crisps or car marques, etc, etc.

    The key is to get people to want or need whatever it is you are selling – and as for song lyrics, the Stones said it all years ago in can’t get no satisfaction.


  4. Often for business-people selling services, the position is that the customer / client HAS already identified a need to have the service delivered to them, the issue is who they WANT to deliver it. So therefore we do not (in theory) need to sell the service, we only need to sell ourselves. Which is, of course, where networking and relationship-building comes in.


  5. Ah ha – a couple of nice concepts. Perhaps Andy will elaborate on getting people to want what you don’t actually need and Tamara will supply the key aspects of prostitution!! ;0)



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