Avoiding an unpleasant situation

It’s always good to focus on the benefits of our product, right? Well, yes, certainly in comparison to focusing on the features. That’s one of the fundamentals of technical marketing. However, it turns out that we can do even better. People might be fond of seeking out pleasure, but they’re even more driven by avoiding pain. If that’s the case – and it is – then the primary benefits we should be concentrating on are not how our products will make customers’ lives easier, but how they’ll prevent customers from having a bad time.

How would taking that approach affect your marketing? It’s worth thinking about.

For example, we’re in the business of running pay-per-click advertising for clients (bear with me on this). Now, lots of people do that, so what makes us stand out? I’ve spent years banging the same drum: we only deal with technology, primarily engineering, so you can just hand us the job because we understand what you sell. Makes your life easier, see? Pleasure.

Maybe we should be concentrating on ‘avoiding pain’ though. Handing a job to a subcontractor may be to avoid pain (it certainly is with something as tedious as AdWords management). So how do we ‘avoid pain’ better than the alternatives? I guess the answer would be that you don’t have to micro-manage us, and you’ll have people writing ads for you who’ve actually heard of a blue widget, and probably understand how it works. Subcontracting a job can still be a pain if you end up doing half of the work yourself.

That’s just how it might work for us. What about you? What can your products do for customers which will help them avoid a situation they wouldn’t want to be in? To take a simple example, instead of ‘higher reliability’, should you be advertising ‘fewer breakdowns’? Just a thought.

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