create-demand

A recent trip to my cabin in northern Wisconsin reminded me of a very important advertising rule. We cannot create a need, but we can certainly capitalize on a need that already exists.

My neighbor warned me that the mosquitoes are unusually thick this season so I planned to prepare myself by picking up some repellent on my way there. I stopped at the store in Lakewood and the shelves were empty. I found the same to be true in Wabeno and Laona. It seemed everyone had a need to protect themselves from the pesky mosquitoes!

It got me thinking … just how much mosquito spray did each store go through before running out? Should they have raised their prices? Should they have ordered more products to be prepared for the rush in demand? The answers are yes, yes and yes.

As a marketer, I am often asked how to sell more of the tertiary products located on the bottom shelves, or fill the restaurant at 3pm, or book a spa schedule during the workday. The reality is marketers cannot create a need … no matter how hard they try. Needs are driven by consumer demand based on season, weather, economy, personal habits, trends and extenuating circumstances. If you want to grow your business, spend time anticipating your consumer’s needs, then provide the products and services to meet them.

In other words, don’t try to sell ice cream in January in Wisconsin. Instead, advertise how you are meeting the consumer need better than your competitor. Once you bring them in the door, then work on upselling the additional products.

Once you have established yourself as the business that remembered to order more bug spray in June, you will automatically sell more soda, beer and s’mores treats too. Your customers will be satisfied and your cash register will be full.