Top advertising professionals know that the best way to boost sales is to create a message that promises a benefit, rather than one that showcases product features. Benefits play on buyer’s needs, which are often based on emotions. Understanding different psychological needs of consumers, including business customers, can help you create better marketing communications and develop brand preference among potential customer groups.


To get into the minds of your potential customers, tell them you can solve a problem they have or provide a benefit they’re seeking. Don’t lead with your company name, website address, phone number or how many years you’ve been in business when you lay out your ads. Talk about your customers, not yourself. If you can promise a benefit to people as they’re flipping through a magazine or surfing the Internet, they’ll stop and look at what you have to say.

Herd Mentality

Many people wait to see what they’re friends or industry peers are doing before they take a chance on something new. Use testimonials, statistics and images of your target customer to convince potential buyers you are a safe bet. In addition to wanting security, some consumers follow the crowd because they don’t want to be left out. Letting these people know that “Everyone’s doing it!” can help boost sales. Save this type of advertising until after innovators and early adopters -- who want the latest thing and are willing to pay more for it -- have cycled through your buying curve.

Alleviating Fear

While you don’t want to scare potential customers with false claims, understanding what makes them nervous can help you deliver a solution that gets them to gravitate to you. A key example of this is advertising health benefits. Rather than simply saying they have a healthy product, health marketers lead with a statistic or fact that describes a health problem a specific consumer group faces, such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, obesity, poor bone health, high blood pressure or poor cholesterol. Once they’ve raised this specter, these advertisers alleviate the fears of consumers by telling them there’s a way to combat a specific ailment, and that the advertiser’s product does this.

Playing on Hopes

Another psychological area advertisers target is consumer hope. Many people want to be fit, sexy, financially successful or admired. They buy discretionary products to tell others they have these qualities. Some people buy cars not because of the quality of the transmission, drive train or warranty, but because of its status among their peers. Consumers are notorious for spending twice as much as they need on athletic apparel to get a particular logo on a shirt or blouse. Determine if your product offers a way for consumers to satisfy a particular emotional need if you sell a discretionary product or service.