What was the last time you bought something? I bet it was to solve a problem. Well you’re not alone. Research shows that 70% of consumers buy something to solve a problem (a pain) and only 30% buy to enhance something, Well if that’s the case, it’s pretty easy to figure out which marketing messages resound best. Quickbooks accounting software recently released their latest ad campaign built on exactly that-their target’s pain. This ad is such a complete representation of all that I teach my clients about good marketing that I thought I’d deconstruct the strategy for you.

Who’s Your Target

In the ad, the heroine is a beleaguered small business owner (a mobile wedding officiant! say what?) Jeannette. It’s clear that although any type and size of businesses can and do use Quickbooks, the company has chosen to embody a micro business solo-preneur in the service industry as their target. Trying to talk to everyone would have been completely meaningless and generic, which many businesses do in their marketing. Sadly it never works. So kudos to Quickbooks for clear targeting.

What’s Their Pain

Poor Jeannette is quirky and cute but she just can’t seem to get paid on time. In fact, the whole ad is a series of vignettes of her hilariously trying and failing to intercept the client to get paid on time. This is such a huge pain point for micro businesses for a multitude of reasons. The first is that solopreneurs worry about damaging the client relationship by talking about getting paid. The second is that they have to chase it themselves since they don’t have a huge team to sic on the client. Lastly, small businesses need cash flow like oxygen and have a lot less leeway for long payment terms. Quickbooks has done their homework in figuring out the pain to a T!

Positioning Your Company As The Solution

The genius in pain-based marketing is that by simple virtue of talking about the target’s pain, you position yourself as an expert in that pain’s solution. By talking directly to the target in their own pain language, you are saying “I get you, I know what you’re going through and I know how to help because I help people like you everyday”. As I always say: No Pain. No Sale.

So if your messaging isn’t working for you, look again at who it’s targeted at and what pain point it’s about.

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