Your Medicine Cabinet

April 14, 2021

Today’s marketing question is…

“What’s in your medicine cabinet?”

Really. That’s the question. Before you think we’ve gone completely off the rails, let me explain.

There are really only two reasons that people do anything…including making a purchase. The first is to avoid pain and the second is to achieve pleasure. Every other motivation is a subset to one of these themes.

Are you selling a product or service that saves time? The pain associated is wasting time…the pleasure is having more time or more control over your time. Same with money.

When we talk about marketing with our clients, we describe this as offering either an aspirin or a vitamin.


The Aspirin

One of two buying motivators live within every customer driving them to act.

The first buying motivator, avoidance of pain, drives your Ideal Customer to get rid of a problem. Think of it this way. They are living with a headache, and they want it gone…the sooner, the better.

They actively seek a remedy to their headache. They are not indifferent to their problem. They want it removed. They want their headache to go away. They are reacting to something undesirable. It’s quite possible that they don’t really know what will take away their headache.

Research shows only 5% of all your Ideal Prospects believe they know the solution and are looking for that solution. Five percent! What are the other 95% doing? They are searching for answers, turning over boulders, inquiring of friends, digging through the Internet because they don’t know what will take away the headache. When they have a headache, you become their aspirin. They just want to move away from pain, challenge, issue, dilemma—whatever word is appropriate.


The Vitamin

The second buying motivator propels your Ideal Customer to take something pretty good and make it even better. Their desire for something even better moves them forward to find what will create greater pleasure. People seeking to turn something good into something great are proactive rather than reactive. You’ll find them in motion when things are good. They act with their eye to the future, perhaps heading off a problem before it even appears or accelerating today for an even more positive tomorrow.

The buyers moving toward pleasure might not know exactly what they are looking for either. All they know is this “thing” can get much better. They want to move towards gratification, towards pleasure, towards greater happiness or joy. When they want something better, you become their vitamin.

Your primary product or service comes packaged for your customer as either an aspirin or a vitamin. Your marketing language and strategy will be quite different depending upon which type of “medicine” you are dispensing.

In either case, you are taking your customer on a journey of change from where they are to where they want to be. Your marketing language should paint a vivid picture of how things are for the customer now and how they will be after working with you.

The customers choosing an aspirin are going from pain to relief or from problem to solution. The vitamin shoppers are traveling from good to great or from acceptable to optimal.

Smart business owners have both aspirins and vitamins in their medicine cabinets, but they focus more on the type of medicine their ideal customers need most.

Make sure your medicine cabinet is fully stocked and your “medicine” is well-labeled. Specify exactly what type of headache your product will relieve. Tell the customer precisely what will be enhanced by that vitamin.


Take a good look at what’s in your medicine cabinet and then…

Go forth and do great things,

Martha & Chris