Inbound Marketing Strategy

How Pleasure and Pain Drive Buying Behavior

Brad Smith
August 19, 2011

Give me pleasure, or take away my pain.

At a very basic level, people are motivated by these two elements.

If you don’t understand your market segment(s) motivations and buying behavior, then you’ll have no idea of what tactics and techniques to use.

In order to examine how buying behavior plays in to your business, we’ll assume this involves some complex (not impulse) purchasing decision for consumers. In these complex transactions, people typically follow this buying process identified by Kotler:


Consumer Buying Process (Kotler)
Image courtesy of Peter Morville

Identifying your Target Segment

The goal is to identify the buying behaviors or motivators for your target market segment(s). This is what compels them to purchase something, which will lead you to determine how you can reach them through the most effective means.

Typically, the three main factors that influence consumer buying are personal, social, and physiological.

These factors include everything from demographics, personality, knowledge and education, lifestyle, to social classes and opinion leaders.

Starting with the basic fundamentals of life, people typically make purchasing decisions according to the famous Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:


Maslows Hierarchy of Needs
Image courtesy of BetterBizIdeas
People are looking for a nuance of deriving pleasure or satisfying pain. This is related to the famous axiom, People buy benefits, not features.

When writing content (and advertising copy), your goal is to tap into these motivators and use proper phrasing to demonstrate how your product/service solves their problem.

Only when you really understand why people want something, can you begin to determine the specific tactics to reach them. Your next goal is to tap into these desires at the right time, through the right medium.

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