Your marketing should be about “their” outcomes, and not about “you” 26

Fairly recently, I had set up a new email service for SocialProse when, because of a DNS snafu, our email became completely inaccessible. The first technical support representative I talked to explained in detail how he could do either ABC or XYZ to fix it — terms and procedures more or less unfamiliar to me.

But a second tech support person, sensing my frustration over the situation, simply asked me a question: “What do you want to have happen here?”

Relieved, I answered, “I just want my email to work again without having to change my website’s hosting!” And you know what? He just took care of it for me.

I don’t know how he did it, and I didn’t really care. I was looking for a solution to my problem; I was buying a result. When it comes to marketing, companies often forget the truism that people don’t generally pay for skills or methods; they pay for solutions and desired outcomes.

What do I mean by that? If you’re in the market for a lawn mower, for example, chances are you are simply looking for the outcome of a tidy lawn. If you hire a financial planner, you’re really paying for the achievement of certain financial goals. If you buy a smart phone, your desired outcome is likely higher productivity. Likewise, if you need social marketing, your desired outcome is probably generating more leads for your business, but you may not care too much about how SocialProse arrives at your messaging or strategy, or what tools we use to run your marketing program.

In other words, you’re not simply buying a lawn mower or a phone, or hiring a financial planner or a marketing firm. You’re not paying for how they work. You’re really buying the desired outcomes from those purchase decisions: A tidier lawn, a more comfortable retirement, higher productivity, more business leads.

People are looking for companies that provide them with desired outcomes. So in your marketing, tell them exactly what outcomes they can expect from your product or service! Your potential customers just want to know what problems you can solve for them, or what benefits and results you’ll deliver.

Your social media and content marketing should answer these questions. If you understand what your customers are really looking for — an outcome, not simply a service or product — and focus your conversations and messages on understanding their problems, they will assume you know “how” to deliver the result they desire.

Lynn Esquer/SocialproseLynn Christiansen Esquer is a principal at SocialProse Media. Email her at


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