We recently onboarded a new client in the coaching space. They help business owners and teams get out of their way as they pursue their growth. As part of our discovery process, and in our quarterly meetings, we consistently ask them this question…
“What are you hearing from your clients, as in, what challenges are they asking you to help them fix?”
It’s a simple question, really. We’re trying to get to the heart of what people are buying when they engage with the brand. We also know that how the coaches answer this question will shift over time as business environments change, which is why we ask this question over and over. Every persona has specific triggers that motivate them to take action, and those can change over time. This is what we’re working to uncover: the buyer’s driving forces.
Identify Their Driving Forces
A persona’s driving forces originate in two places:
These include their pains, things they struggle with, and their needs. Push Forces exert pressure on an individual that they are looking to release.
These include their wants, their aspirations, and their attractions. Pull Forces are magnetic, pulling individuals toward the outcomes they desire.
Think back to the last time you experienced physical pain, for example, a migraine. The discomfort you experienced created a pressure on your body that you would do anything to eliminate. Push Forces like this make taking medicine in the midst of pain a natural choice. The same happens with your audience. If you can convince them that you understand their pain and that you can provide the best solution to remove it for them, they will choose you, your products, and services.
On the flip side, taking a vitamin when you are feeling healthy and strong requires a different mindset. It necessitates aspirational thinking, focused on your aspirations and goals for the future. Pull Forces like these create a magnetic effect that attracts and drives action. Look back at your audience personas. If you can convince them that you understand their aspirations and that you can provide the best solution for making those wants a reality, they will engage with you.
Listen to What They Want, Then Dig For the Root
For the coaching team in the example above, their clients are telling them what they want every day. Whenever customers share what they’re struggling with or the big goal they want to achieve, those connect directly to their driving forces.
Trying to learn what they want? Just listen, and they’ll tell you.
Sometimes, they’ll share this without being asked. Other times, you’ll have to lead with curiosity and ask them some questions. Often, the initial answer to the question isn’t the real answer. You’ll have to dig deeper to get to the root.
Here’s an example. Say a tech startup is grappling with recruiting challenges, which they are blaming it on a competitive job market. They invest significant resources into their marketing, communicating how much they pay and leaning into that as their competitive edge. Digging a bit deeper, though, and having conversations with prospective employees, they realize that comp isn’t the driving force. At the root, new hires want to work somewhere with a healthy culture where they’ll feel valued and connected to the mission. Comp matters, but it doesn’t matter most, so the marketing strategy shifts.
Uncovering the root is everything. It’s where the best marketing conversations with clients begin, and it’s essential to creating meaningful customer connections.
Do This Work Before You “Do Marketing”
It can be easy to skip these kinds of questions and jump into marketing your brand. Whether you’re a coach, a manufacturer, a non-profit, or a creative agency like OrangeBall, we all have customers who are bringing their driving forces into our businesses every day. As we shared earlier, every persona has specific triggers that motivate them to take action.
Once we understand those triggers, we can build marketing content that speaks clearly to their driving forces, targeting their wants and needs. This is the kind of marketing content that engages and works. Skip asking questions like these, jumping right into “doing marketing,” and you’ll miss your target every time.
The key is to trust the process and dig for the root.
Look at your customers and ask yourself, “What are we hearing from them, as in, what challenges are they asking us to help them fix?” Invest some time as a team thinking about their driving forces, dig down to expose the roots, and you’ll be ready to start creating marketing content that wins attention.
This is work we do with our clients all of the time. As we shared in the example above, we work closely with clients to help them understand their customers’ driving forces and build communication strategies that create connections and drive growth. Curious? Reach out, and let’s start a conversation.