Want and need are terms that are often used interchangeably, giving the impression that they mean the same thing. But when you’re researching potential customers for your business, those that have a want and those that have a need are two completely different things and need be approached in different ways.

So, how you decide what is the want, and what is the need, when marketing your business?

Spotting the difference

Needs can be categorised as essential for survival, e.g. food, shelter, clothing, safety, water. For businesses, equipment and supplies meet the basic functional needs.

Wants, or emotional needs, are desires or cravings that you experience. Joy, relief, security, adventure and comfort are among the common emotions that drive buying decisions.

Do you need that delicious pastry?

When you’re hungry, you’re experiencing a basic need in order to function, and a hearty sausage roll from the local bakery will satisfy that need.

If you walk past the bakery and are drawn in by the display and enticing smell, you want the same sausage roll and may buy it even though you had no prior intention of doing so. This is an emotional response. You didn’t know you wanted one until your senses influenced you to crave and purchase a sausage roll immediately.

Choosing the right channel for the right response

The same theory applies to marketing your business. A need will be searched in Google, e.g. ‘local car dealerships’ and ‘dry cleaners near me’. These consumers know exactly what they need and are actively seeking gratification. The trick is to be found instantly and provide a compelling reason to choose you over your competitors.  

Facebook works in a different way. Your targeted customer might be scrolling through cat videos and catching up on family and friends’ activities when an advert pops up for your product. They weren’t thinking about your product, but because of the timing and content – whether it’s a video, blog or promotional offer – they suddenly want it. They must have it.

These two marketing techniques working together can be incredibly powerful. To make it work, look at your business and understand the needs versus the wants of your potential customers and plan your marketing strategy around that.

That’s the way we work with our clients. By getting a deeper understanding of your customers’ wants and needs we can create efficient, effective marketing plans that don’t cost the earth and deliver great results.

I’m the CEO & Founder of Stada Media. We’re experts in video production, content creation and management, SEO, PPC, social media, web design and PR. Find out more here.