Section 21 Need or Desire

February 7th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments
WINNERS = Products which appeal to 50% of the population out of need and the other 50% out of desire.

Most marketing experts will agree that in order to be a success, a product must be perceived by a specific target audience as filling a specific need (or desire).

The product that successfully finds and fills a previously unfulfilled need is said to have found its “market niche”.  A market niche, or need, must be identifiable, accessible, serviceable, and profitable to make it worth pursuing.  It must be identifiable in the respect that the consumers in your target audience must agree that the need exists.  It must be accessible to the point that you can financially afford to make contact with them, in one form or another, and educate them about the product’s features, advantages and benefits to such a degree that they will be enticed to buy it.  It must be serviceable in the respect that you must be able to handle the production of sufficient quantities of product to supply the demand.  It must be profitable enough, after paying all costs and commissions, to make it worth pursuing.

In other words, the need or desire for the product must be considered great enough that it is worth taking the risks involved in producing and marketing a new product.  “Need,” like “want” or “desire”, is a word which is subject to interpretation.  Just as one person’s “fast”, is another person’s “slow”, one persons perceived “need” may be another person’s “want” or “desire”.

Most products are purchased because of:

  • A genuine need, (life support, protection, etc.)
  • A secondary “need” (to make your job faster or easier)
  • An impulse (“I want it now”)
  • A desire to be “superior to others” (ego)
  • A desire to please or to help others (a gift)
  • A desire to improve appearance (image)
  • A desire to make life easier (lifestyle improvement)
  • A desire to have fun (entertainment, sports, hobbies, novelties)
  • A desire to make money (business)
  • A  fear of loss of person or property (security)

In actual definition, need is substantially different than desire.

  • Need is rational while desire is emotional
  • Need is basic while desire is superficial
  • Need is objective while desire is more subjective
  • Need is more unselfish while desire is more selfish

Despite the easily distinguished difference in meaning, the two are still often confused. As an example of my point that “one person’s desire is another person’s need”, let’s look at one of the reasons a product is purchased, from the list above.  Let’s look at “a desire to improve image”.  to some people, a product which covers up blemishes would be “desirable”, but they would not go out of their way to find it.   To other people, the perceived “need” to look “acne-free” is overwhelming, and they would drive to another city to buy a highly touted product.  One person “desires” to look acne-free, the other person is fervently driven by image consciousness and really believes that he or she “needs” to look acne-free at any cost.

Image and ego are two of the most powerful driving forces in the minds of consumers world wide.  Product developers and entrepreneurs who come up with products that appeal to image and ego will always have an eager audience.  One example that comes to mind is the person who developed “nose-bows” in Mexico, and made a fast fortune with a simple inexpensive product.  It seems that this entrepreneurial product developer noticed that as Mexican social climbers became more affluent, they would invariably have plastic surgery done on their noses to “turn them up” a little bit.  This change in the proboscis would supposedly “elevate” their social status by making them look less like an “Indian” and more like a “Spaniard”.  Our clever inventor thought it unjust that only the rich people could afford such a “Spaniard look” and he came up with an inexpensive little piece of plastic which could be worn, undetected, just inside the nose, and offered the same “Spaniard look” for pennies instead of the hundreds of dollars for the operation.  The product was an overnight success and made the inventor a rich man.

Another example of need versus desire can be found in products sold on the basis that they will enhance wealth.  One person who has enough money to get by may purchase the product out of a “desire ” to make more money, while another person may purchase the product out of a “need” to make enough money to pay present bills.  All of the products and seminars aimed at “opportunity seekers” are positioned to appeal to their ” anticipation of gain” or their “fear of loss”.

To the entrepreneur and new product developer, sales based on desire or need are equally appreciated.  We are lucky that no two of us were created the same, because if we were, the entrepreneurial opportunities would have been drastically limited.  Because we are each driven by different needs and desires, we are blessed with a huge market for lots of different products.

The ideal product is one which appeals to several different market segments, for different reasons, and can be supplied to the different segments through different channels of distribution.  For example, it appeals to middle income homemakers who can purchase the product out of IMPULSE at the grocery store, and, in different packaging, it appeals to upscale upper income shoppers who can purchase it out of a desire to please others (a gift) at a department store.



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