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What makes a marketing message really resonate with the target market? Not just draw some casual interest, but get a deep-down, visceral reaction that forces the prospect to take some action.

There are a few key areas that marketers can address that will draw interest, but nothing gets attention like Pain. That’s right. Pain. With a capital P. If you can find what it is that causes your prospect to lose sleep at night, that’s what you focus on.

This is obvious, right? Good marketing means explaining the value (“what’s in it for me?”) of whatever product or service you are offering. What I’m talking about is more than that. Yes, you want the prospect to believe in their heart that you can solve their problem, but first, you have to make them hurt.

I don’t want this post to come across as angry, because it’s not. What I mean is that once you find the pain point, you exploit it a little. It’s like on TV when someone is trying to get information out of a captive with a broken leg, you push on the leg a little, right?

Neil Rackham puts it more nicely in his SPIN Selling methodology. The “S” is for the situation. You have to understand what they are going through. “P” is the problem and “I” is the implications of the problem. In other words, what will happen if this problem is not solved?

Good marketers need to spend some time in the P and I phases before going into the “N” which is for needs/benefits. How is it done? Let’s say you are selling a software package that is designed to make a person or process more efficient. Let’s look at a standard package like Salesforce for this example.

Your prospect has a problem with keeping track of their contacts and following them through the system as they become leads with opportunities and eventually closed deals. That’s a problem. What are the possible implications of that problem? We will use just two for this example:

  • You might look incompetent or out of touch to your contacts
  • You could miss out on revenue opportunities

Ok, those are legitimate implications of the problem. Now, let’s put a little more pressure on the sensitive spots. What happens to the prospect if either of the results above becomes reality? What happens if you look incompetent to your contacts? It’s possible they give their friends a poor recommendation and decide to not use your services. Ever. And they tell others. Ouch!

What happens if, due to disorganization, you miss potential revenue opportunities? Well, as a sales rep you have poorer results than you might otherwise have, and you don’t make as much as you could. Your company will not do as well. Maybe you lose your job. Ouch, again!

By doing some diligent market research and digging in to these issues with as many in your market as is practical, you can gain very valuable insights that will greatly improve your marketing. Put a little pressure where the prospect is going to feel it the most, then give them a way to escape that pain. It just so happens that you have the solution, right?

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