You’d Better Damned Well Know Why!


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” Stop worrying about Why your buyers buy.

They don’t even know why they buy!”

I heard the above guidance at a marketing event last week. It came from a prominent and well-respected marketing speaker.

I almost fell off my chair.

I had to fight the urge to stand and scream, “Are you nuts?” I just couldn’t believe I heard someone say that.

The marketing guidance went something like this:

  • Buyers have no clue why they buy. We vendors shouldn’t worry about it either.
  • All we need to know is who buys, what they want to buy and how they want to buy.
  • For success, all we need to do is market and sell what buyers want and make it easy for them to buy it.

If it were only that easy.

Now that I think about it, business can be that easy. If you want to follow everyone else and compete on price then the above approach works.

If you want to be a profitable market leader, you’d damned well better know WHY your buyers buy.

“Why” is the most important thing we marketers need to know.

  • Only by understanding the “Why” behind a purchase can we expect to understand the problem that’s driving the buyer to purchase in the first place.
  • Only by understanding the Why can we identify our Distinct Value that’s driving their decision.
  • Only by understanding our buyers’ problems (or their opportunities) can we identify and create innovative and distinct solutions that meet their needs, today and tomorrow.

I have no clue where the idea came along that we don’t need to know Why buyers buy. It’s inane IMHO. And it’s dangerous to think that Why isn’t important. Understanding Why means the difference between market leaders and followers, between innovative Value that powers profitability or Me Too Value that succumbs to competitive margin pressure.

Here are five “Why” questions to show you just how important “Why” is to your business.

  • Why were you searching for a solution? We need to know what problem our buyers’ seek to solve, or the opportunity they wish to exploit. Only by understanding this Why can we position ourselves to deliver a distinct, high-Value solution, ahead of the pack.
  • Why did you choose to review our offering? This tells us what specific Value attracted the buyer to our business. I’ve learned through the years that the answer we expect is often not the buyers’ reason – so listen and learn from the responses to this why.
  • Why did you select specific competitors to review? This tells us what Value our competitors are sharing that buyers like. It doesn’t matter what you think about your competition – nor does the truth about them matter. The only thing that really matters is the perception that compelled customers to them.
  • Why did you choose our product? This tells you the specific Value or Values that fueled their purchasing decision. This is probably the single most important Why we need to understand. Don’t just settle for their off the cuff answer – dig deeper. Underneath the throw-off claims of price or packaging – there’s a subtler, more compelling reason. When you understand this Why – you often find the focus point that fuels your future innovation.
  • Why do you think you’ll get a return on your investment? This Why helps you understand their expectations of your offering. Tracking this Why – and your ability to deliver those results – allows you to gather powerful evidence of your Value in real world business applications. What could be more powerful fuel than customer success?

So – if you happen to hear a marketing speaker tell you to “forget the why”….. Forget them and keep digging!

Photo courtesy of Marco Bellucci

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Rebel Brown
Rebel Brown consistently challenges the status quo to deliver optimum solutions and high velocity growth for her clients. She combines the strategic expertise and tactical savvy of a global Corporate Strategy, Launch and Turnaround Expert, along with the leadership and motivational skills needed to get the job done.


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