Meet me in outer space

Justin Kownacki‘s first big web TV hit, Something To Be Desired, had the tag line, “What do you WANT?” It was an underlying theme of the series, though ridiculously subtle unless you were looking for it. The question is really powerful, isn’t it? “What do you want?”

What Do Buyers Want?

Buyers don’t want your product. They want something to ease a pain or increase their pleasure. When I buy RainX for my windshield fluid, it’s because I want to see the road better (visibility is a pain problem). When someone buys contact lenses, it’s because they consider glasses a pain (even if the vanity is the only pain). Buyers buy to solve a pain point much more often than they buy to increase their pleasure. Think about your last ten purchases or expenditures and you’ll see that.

What Do Employees Want?

Whenever I’m frustrated by the actions of some company, it’s usually a systematic thing. Icelandair stranded me in Reykjavik for an entire day, because they decided not to run a few extra planes to make up for their delays. The people behind the desk have no control over these decisions. They’re made by finance people who weigh 122 hotel rooms and food versus 3 jets and the fuel and fees (no-brainer). The employee serving me at that desk wants nothing more than for me to accept the decisions that have been made, take my little vouchers, and move on. (These wants, by the way, are pain/pleasure based, too. They want to avoid the pain of disgruntled passengers).

Understanding what employees want and that it rarely has anything to do with satisfying your needs goes a long way towards helping you better navigate your choices to solving a problem.

What Do You Want?

It’s forever baffling to me that people get frustrated or envious of others, and then cite a bunch of details and facts that, should they really examine them, would be completely attainable by them, if only they’d put in the effort. When I am the catcher of such gripes, I often ask my upset colleague or friend, “What do YOU want? And what are you doing to get it?” This, of course, starts a bunch of excuses flowing, but that’s okay. At least it’s a start in putting the onus back on the individual as opposed to leaving it floating out there in what Covey would call the Circle of Concern.

What YOU want is obviously the most important thing to know. Do you want to be famous? Do you want to be widely recognized for what you do? Do you want wealth? Do you want the love of your family? What you want factors in strongly to everything else you might think of doing in a day, don’t you think?

Marketers are In the Want Business

Sometimes, people call advertising the job of selling people things they don’t need. That may or may not be true. But most really successful marketers are most definitely in the business of selling wants. I bought this big giant TDK BoomBox (amazon affiliate link) because I saw someone’s video review of it and thought it was the sexiest audio thing I’d seen outside of my Sonos ZonePlayer. I wanted it. I most definitely didn’t need it. So, I bought it.

Marketers are in the want business. Are you spending enough time thinking about wants?

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