You’ve heard all about “market, message, media” – we’ve talked about until we’re blue in the face for years now.

Find the right MARKET

Craft a MESSAGE that resonates with that market.

Select a MEDIA that gets that message in front of that market.

Chances are you also know that it HAS to be in that order – you can’t start with the media without first selecting the market, and you can’t craft a message without first knowing who you’re targeting.

Today we want to go a stage further, and explain what you need to be doing in between MARKET and MESSAGE.

Because when you really understand what’s going on inside your prospect’s head and their buying position, you’ll make better decisions when it comes to the marketing you decide to do, and create marketing much more likely to be effective.

And it all comes down to WANTS and NEEDS.

We’ve spoken about this in the past – a fancy holiday is something someone wants, petrol for your car is something someone needs.

And if you can understand whether your prospect wants or needs what you have to sell, your marketing’s going to better; you’ll push the right buttons.

But if you want to go a stage further, get a bit more sophisticated, then it’s a smart move to dig a little deeper.

In the below table, you’ll see that WANTS and NEEDS can be divided into four quadrants:

  • High Want/High Need
  • High Need/Low Want
  • High Want/Low Need 
  • Low Need/Low Want


Which quadrant is your product in?


High Want/High Need

Unsurprisingly, it’s good news if your product’s in this category, since people both want it and need it.

You don’t need to stimulate desire, or spend millions of pounds on an information campaign to explain why it’s needed – that already exists.

So what you need to do is get in front of your prospect, and use core marketing principles – get and keep their attention, give them a compelling reason to take action now,, all the usual stuff.

One example of a High Want/High Need business is an emergency plumber – there’s a strong NEED for it, since a burst pipe has the ability to cause thousands of pounds of damage, and – as a result – there’s huge desire for it to be fixed.


High Need/Low Want

A lot of B2B businesses, including ours, sit in this quadrant.

Take marketing support.  No one really wants to pay someone to help them with their marketing, but lots of businesses need both the guidance from experience marketers and the actual ‘done for you’ element to actually get marketing out the door.

Human resources is another example – it’s up there with one of the most boring subjects ever, and for many employers, it’s a box ticking exercise.

But it’s a non-negotiable: you need it to be legal, so there’s a huge need for it.


High Want/Low Need

Luxury products tend to sit in this category.  Rolex watches, five-star hotels, superyachts – no one NEEDS these things, but hundreds of thousands of people want them.

When you’ve got a High Want/Low Need product, you’re in a good place, because you know that people want to buy it.  What you need to do is get it in front of enough people with a compelling enough message to get prospects to choose you over your competitors.

And one way to do that is to bring more “need” into the equation, by helping the prospect to justify the purchase in their head – the more you can explain why it’s a sensible purchase, the more likely you are to get the sale.

Take the superyacht for example – it’s an extravagant, emotional purchase.  No one really NEEDS a superyacht.

But by framing your message around impressing clients, or creating lifelong memories with your family, you can help your prospect see that there would be genuine value in acquiring one.


Low Want/Low Need

We’ll make no bones about it – if your product’s in this category, then you’ve got more of a challenge than most.

If no one wants it, and no one needs it, you need some super smart marketing to create some desire.

That’s not to say all is lost – the iPad is a good example of a product that there was no desire and precious little need for, but thanks to a combination of great marketing, and Apple’s adoring fanbase, it managed to gain some traction and turn into product that people now both want and feel they need.


Can you have prospects in multiple quadrants?


Yes.  And understanding whether you’ve got prospects in multiple quadrants can help you create a more compelling marketing message.

For example, people go to the gym for multiple reasons, the two primary ones being:

  1. To look good – WANT
  2. To be healthier – NEED

If you’re trying to acquire gym clients, you need to understand what your customers’ primary motivations are, and either niche down to one message that resonates, or ensure 

If they’re coming for aesthetic reasons, your message needs to focus on them looking good, and all the benefits that come from that.

If it’s health reasons, your messaging needs to be around quality of life, longevity of life and all that stuff.

Whether you own a gym or not, thinking about the different reasons why your customers buy from you will help you determine which quadrants your product is in and the types of messaging likely to be effective.


Why does all this matter?

Simple, it makes your marketing better, and helps you make you make the right decisions.

For example, if your product is in a High Want quadrant, you can bet your bottom dollar that people are searching for it, so using paid search like Google Ads would be a smart way to get in front of the right people.

If no one wants your product, but they need it, your marketing strategy needs to focus on helping prospects to recognise their need, and seeing that your solution is the way to fulfil that need.


Want to know more about why people buy stuff?

Fill in the form below and we’ll whizz over a PDF that details all of the deep, psychological reasons why people buy stuff: