Discovery – The First Step

Meeting Customers Halfway

The first step in the purchase cycle is discovery, or the recognition of a need or want. Sometimes this is as simple as the smell of popcorn wafting through a movie theater; sometimes it involves a coordinated public awareness campaign.

Your job as an advertiser is to find out how your customers discover their need for your product or service. There is a large emotional component to need recognition; research indicates that our brains tend to make emotional decisions and THEN come up with the logical reasoning to justify them.

They have emotions. You have answers.

Emotions you can tap into when running a discovery campaign include nostalgia, hope, fear, anxiety, love, sympathy and anger. You don’t need to create these emotions in your audience; people walk around roiling with feelings all day long. You just need to connect your product with the thoughts and emotions that are already there.

One way to do this is to ask current customers what it was that made them decide to consider making a purchase from you. Maybe their car was having more and more problems (frustration), so they decided they needed a new one. Perhaps they were hungry after driving kids around all day (the most basic of needs) so they stopped for a bite. A health scare (fear) pushed them to shop for life insurance. They wanted to help their struggling student (worry), so they were looking for a tutor. They saw a childhood toy had been revived (nostalgia) and had to get one for their own children.

In each case, the emotion leading to the need discovery was already there. All you really had to do as an advertiser was to connect your product with that emotion. You didn’t even realize that’s what you were doing, did you? Imagine how much more successful you can be with a purposeful strategy!

“Pulling” Emotions to Good Use

Once you’ve determined which emotions tend to trigger a discovery of need in your customers, you can design an advertising campaign that reaches out and taps into those emotions. Remember: people are already looking for what you have to offer. You just need to remind them, and invite them to consider you.

This is part 2 in our Deeper Marketing series. Read Part 1 here

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