top of page

What Makes People Buy: Part 1

For someone to make a purchase, the following criteria have to be met:

  1. They need to know they have a problem

  2. They need to understand what life can be like when that problem is solved.

  3. They need to know why you’re the best solution to solving that problem.

  4. They need to have the means to purchase your product or make use of your services.

  5. The perceived value they will receive must be high enough to warrant spending the money.

When it comes to your marketing activities, your marketing message, content, and audience targeting help you with points 1 to 4, and your branding and customer experience help with number 5.

In this article, we discuss the first criterion that must be met for a potential customer to make a purchase: awareness of a problem.

What makes people buy? An electric mixer example.

Setting the scene.

Imagine this scenario: you bring a new ground-breaking product to market. Your product is fantastic, efficient, and overall just amazing. But here's the catch: no matter how amazing your product is, you won’t sell any of it if your customers don’t know that they need it. It's not enough for your customers to merely have a problem that your product can solve, they need to be aware of the problem to know that they need your solution.

What’s more, you need to also understand the true problem that you solve. Remember the age-old adage: "People don't buy the drill; they buy the hole"?

Take the electric mixer as an example. Before its invention, people were content with hand mixers. The problem an electric mixer solves isn't just mixing ingredients; it's doing it faster and more effortlessly. Your role as a seller of electric mixers isn't merely to know this; you must make sure your customers know it too. Otherwise, they'll happily keep using their old hand mixers.

What does this message look like?

So, how do you help people realise they have a problem? It all boils down to your marketing messaging. Remember the sales funnel and how different types of content fit at various stages? This is a prime example. Your content should highlight (and, where possible, amplify) the negative impact of their current approach. Your audience should also, ideally, be able to connect with this impact, seeing themselves in the situation.

For the electric mixer scenario, your marketing message could look something like this:

  • "Say Goodbye to Sore Arms and Hello to Electric Mixers' Blissful Ease!"

  • "Speed Up Your Kitchen Prep: Electric Mixers vs. Hand Mixers"

  • "Master Your Mixer: Discover the Art of Baking with Electric Mixers"

What kind of content should you use?

These messages can take the form of infographics, articles, videos, short social media posts, or even a podcast episode. The key is to educate your readers in such a way that they recognise their problem. Your content at this stage should not be about selling your electric mixer just yet. It's about making your audience aware of their problem—that's the purpose at this stage of the sales funnel.

What about content distribution?

Now, where should you share this kind of content? Since it's aimed at a broad audience, you'll want to cast a wide net. Share it on open platforms with extensive reach, such as social media platforms, blogs, and your website. More specialised channels like mailing lists and specific interest groups come into play in later stages of the sales funnel (stay tuned for that in our next article).

You also need to remember to share your content where your target audience is active. If you're targeting a younger demographic, platforms like TikTok or Instagram might be more effective.

What makes people buy?

In a nutshell, the first criterion is making your audience aware of their problem. To achieve this, you need to understand the real problem your product solves and communicate it effectively through your marketing messages. Create informative content that emphasises the negative impact of the current situation and distribute it widely on open platforms.

Stay tuned for part two of this series, where we talk about the second criterion; how to help your audience understand what life can be like when their problem is solved.


bottom of page