What your audience wants and needs 2 brutal truths

01/30/2023 0 Comments

What your audience wants and needs

Think about the people you wish to serve. Consider what your audience wants and needs.

Maybe they want comfort, luxury, and ease. Many people want a quick fix, a special pill, or a magic bullet. Reasonable and knowledgeable people know that there really is no such thing and that chasing it will only result in heartache, broken promises, and empty bank accounts. What your audience wants might not all be feasible, but some of it probably is.

We are going to make some assumptions here.

  • We will assume that you are honest and have good intentions. You’re not a scammer of any kind, right?
  • We will assume that what you offer is of high quality. You didn’t dredge up some rusty object from the bottom of a lake, and you’re not trying to pass off a $1 plastic rack as a $100 over the sink rack like some companies in China did with Facebook and PayPal, correct?
Photo of the cheap plastic rack sent as part of the scam
This is the 10-inch wide, $1 plastic rack sold for $35 in the scam.
This is a photo of the rack that was promised.
This is a photo of the rack that was promised. It’s expandable up to 48 inches wide and made from sturdy metal and cost $80.
  • We will also assume that what you offer is appropriate for your audience. You’re not trying to get just anyone and everyone to buy your stuff, even if it won’t do a thing for them. Right? Good.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about what your audience wants and needs, and what you should do if they’re not the same.

Desire and offering

If what your audience wants is what you offer, fabulous. If they don’t want it, though, or if they don’t even know it exists or that it is for them, then you have a challenge.

What your audience wants and needs can be differnt. This woman wants and needs time in nature.
What your audience wants and needs can be differnt. This woman wants and needs time in nature.

You might need to educate them. That could take time. You also may have to sell them what they want first and later deliver to them what they need. We see this happen with products and services all the time.

Perhaps you know that your client really needs a solid project management tool, but what they want is dopamine hits. In other words, they want it to be fun to get their work done. Asana would be an example of selling them what they want and also giving them what they need. The colorful cartoonish creatures that fly across the screen sometimes when you click Complete on a task definitely make it fun.

I may or may not have created some miniscule tasks in Asana just to be able to check them off and have a chance of seeing a pastel narwhal zooming across my computer monitor. The hope that I might see zipping unicorn thingies may or may not motivate me to get my work done.

Think about what your audience members want. In some cases, they might not know what that is. It might not even exist yet. That was the case for many products and services before someone created them. I’ve heard that said about smartphones, MP3 players, and even cars. If something doesn’t exist yet, people may need to be led to want it. But instances like that are few and far between.

What they actually need

More often, people don’t know what they need. What they want and what they need are rarely the same thing. The “what they want” part is fun. The “what they need” part might not be. You know that people need a healthful diet, but eating things that taste like what they grew in (dirt) just isn’t enjoyable, so they don’t want it. Here’s another, more extensive example.

All humans need their blood sugar levels to stay within a certain range, or they’ll die. As a diabetic, to make that happen for me, I need exogenous insulin and extremely frequent monitoring. What I want is the opposite of all of these things that I had:

  • fingers that are sore from pinpricks
  • spending (wasting) two or more hours every day administering meds and testing my blood sugar
  • needing to worry about where my blood sugar level is
  • following doctors’ orders about timing my meals and meds rigidly and perfectly (Do they even know me?!)
  • needing to keep my sugar too high overnight so I don’t have a low, have a seizure, and die
  • the roller coaster of multiple injections daily, which led to ketoacidosis and time in the ICU

For a long time, I begged for an insulin pump with a continuous glucose monitoring system. I did have the pump at times, depending on the whims of our different insurance providers. When they pulled coverage and I had to go back on injections, I ended up in the ICU because I needed a better, steady insulin delivery system (a pump is a thousand times better than injections).

Now, I have what I want, which gives me what I need.

  • an insulin pump
  • a continuous glucose monitor
  • an app that makes them communicate with each other

The system eliminates the need to poke my finger except in rare instances. It also eliminates the need to load up on carbs before bed (damaging my organs) to prevent an overnight drop in blood sugar. Imagine being afraid to go to sleep because you might die if you do. With the monitor controlling the pump and an alarm that wakes me when my blood sugar starts to drop, that fear was obliterated.

What your audience wants and needs won’t always overlap so neatly. These things also won’t always be so clear.

You need to know both what your audience wants and what it actually needs if you’re going to get in front of the members of it and sell your book and other products and services to them most effectively.

After you know what your audience wants and needs

So, you’ve determined what your audience wants and needs. What should you do when you realize that what your audience wants and what it needs are different? Sell them what they want. Then, once they are in your ecosystem, deliver what they need.

It’s not always easy. It could be the biggest challenge you face. For help figuring out this and other platform development issues, get a free trial to Platform Launchers.

The two brutal truths are that what your audience wants and needs are rarely the same thing, and it’s your job to get them what they need, which you may have to do by selling them what they want.

Join the next session of Your Book Bakery: 12 Weeks to a Manuscript, where we help you figure out what your audience wants and needs.