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Are you selling products or opportunities?

People buy because of emotion, then justify with logic.

Product attributes like specs, dimensions and performance speeds will impress the logical side of your customer’s brain, but what inspires action most is felt somewhere a lot deeper.

Stuffy marketing boardrooms may consider any talk of feelings and emotions as fluffy or sentimental, but when you really break it down, we are talking about trying to understand people.

An in-depth knowledge of your audience and the pain points that affect their lives is essential, no matter what you are offering. Without it, how can you market yourself as the business to solve them?

The best marketing campaigns know how to focus on selling opportunities and solutions, but how do you unearth these needs and engage the emotional side of your customers?

A collaborative group session with your team is a great place to start. Brainstorm on all the uses and benefits your product offers and reimagine them as marketable opportunities. Your first ideas will often be the most obvious. Don’t be afraid to keep asking the probing questions that really get the conversation going. A simple but effective one is…

So what?

Let’s see it in action using Uber Eats as an example.

Food is delivered right to your door.

So what?

It’s a quick and easy alternative to cooking and saves money on going out.

OK, an improvement, but so what?

You can enjoy downtime to do what you want with while someone else takes care of dinner.


Uber Eats UK’s “Embrace the art of doing less” campaign is a joint effort with creative agency Mother London.

Three offbeat and humorous TV ads highlight some rather quirky things you could do with the free time using Uber Eats gives you. Digital billboards lead with the bold headlines “Downtime is served” and “Dishes that take one thing off your plate” and “Sweet f*** all never tasted so sweet.”

Doing less is not only being marketed here but celebrated. An opportunity is being leveraged here, not simply a food delivery service. See the full campaign here.

Lego found a way to market the opportunity of developing a child’s imagination without even using words in this creative poster.

The main images on Patagonia’s website, a clothing and outdoor apparel brand, focus on the striking landscapes of nature rather than any close ups of their products. The adventure of the great outdoors and the lifestyle it offers is being pitched as a selling point, arguably more so than the product itself.

Big companies will always have money to spend on marketing campaigns. Don’t let this put you off. The early steps are more about research than finance.

If you are a solopreneur or do not have a large team to collaborate with, don’t be deterred. Collate everything you know about the target audience you serve and their day to day lives.

Go deeper than marital status, age, gender, and generic preferences.

What excites them?

What scares them?

What are their daily struggles?

If you are a new business still trying to uncover the personality of your customer base, head to the review section of your competitors. 2-3 star reviews are a goldmine of real people explaining why similar products are not delivering and why.

An effort to develop a deeper understanding at the market planning stage will always create a message that resonates better with any audience.

Embrace saying “so what” to your early ideas and leave your door open to unearthing something meaningful. You may well find that opportunity knocks.

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