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What Consumers Really Want

Hat tip to Lee Smith of DELI BUSINESS for passing on this release from The Natural Marketing Institute, which reports its finding that three quarters of consumers are concerned about their energy level. My first response: only 75%? I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like a little more energy.

The implications of this are significant. The release speaks to product development such as low-sugar and sugar-free foods and, more broadly, of the opportunity to tie in to the idea of “Stable” energy and low- glycemic foods.

The release, though, also stands as a critique of the marketing in every perishable department in the store. In meat, poultry, seafood, deli, dairy, produce, even in bakery and floral — the typical marketing is limited to description: “We have salmon or ham or lamb chops or roses.” If we are fancy, we have Wild Alaskan salmon or New Zealand lamb chops. Once in a while, you will see more elaborate description: High in anti-oxidants, fresh or on sale. Even organic is still a description.

It is as if we all forgot Marketing 101: sell benefits, not features.

A consultant in the publishing field was critiquing some promotional copy for a Feng Shui book. He pointed out that the promo read: ‘Have you ever asked yourself, ’Why can’t there be a simple, easy-to-understand guide to Feng Shui’?’

But the consultant pointed out: This likely isn’t what the reader is asking himself. What the reader has asked himself — and would have a stronger reaction to in a subhead — is ‘Why can’t I get rich?’ and ‘How can I stay healthy?’

In other words, all marketers need to determine what the real motivation is for people to purchase a product. That is what we need to be thinking of and that should shape how we position products.

The floral arrangement should probably say: “It will win her heart,” not “a mixed flower bouquet.” The children’s birthday cake with the cartoon character should be promoted as something that will “Thrill your little boy when he sees his favorite cartoon friends.”

Look at Abraham Maslow’s heirachy of needs and see what the consumer really wants from your product:

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