May 13, 2016 Ten desires to help you understand your customers

By Emma Hardy

happy old bearded man

When we think about our basic needs, food and shelter may come to mind. However, when it comes to living a happy and fulfilling life, those essentials barely scratch the surface. Researcher Hugh Mackay has spent a lifetime learning to understand people. His book, What Makes Us Tick: The Ten Desires That Drive Us, uncovers the social desires that have us getting out of bed and engaging with the world each day.

The desires that resonate most to us fluctuate at different stages of our lives, sometimes even from moment to moment, however they construct a core idea of what it means to be human.

1. To be taken seriously

Being taken seriously means being understood, listened to, and not ignored. It’s essential to listen to your customers and speak to them as equals. If no attempt at understanding is made, your customers will not feel as though you are taking them seriously, let alone their wants and needs.

2. For a place in the world

Having a place in the world means more than having a home. It means feeling secure, safe and comfortable. It means being able to escape the danger of the unknown. As a business, meeting this need often means reassuring your customers. While this can be done through pushing product benefits, it’s better done on an emotional level. What are your customers’ fears, and how can you make them feel better?

3. For something to believe in

Having something to believe in gives us purpose. In the same way, your brand should have a greater purpose than whatever your final product is. Don’t just tell them what you do, tell them why you do it. Talking about the why rather than the how will give your customers something bigger to believe in.

4. To connect with self, others and nature

We’re social creatures, and that means that connection is integral to us. There are lots of ways that customers can connect with your brand. Sometimes it can be as simple as using inclusive language. Social media is another great way to get people connecting with your brand. Engaging people via Facebook or Twitter can get people talking with one another and connecting over your product or service.

5. To be useful

Give your customers something to do. Sometimes being useful is as simple as being able to take action. By making the path to action as simple as possible for your customers, you’ll not only increase conversion, but your customers will be more satisfied too. Depending on your product or service, there may be other ways that you can meet this need by getting customers involved and engaged.

6. To belong

We all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Whether you use social media to generate a following, target your communications to a certain subculture, or create trends that people want to follow, there are plenty of ways your brand can generate a sense of belonging. Brands are a way for people to express themselves. Make sure your brand speaks to your customers’ desire to fit in – be that in the mainstream or their unique niche.

7. For more

We live in a consumer culture, and people don’t want to feel like they’ve been dealt the lesser hand. By giving your brand an aspirational feel, you can create desire and a sense of prestige around the products or services you offer.

8. For control

Ultimately, people want to feel as though they’re making decisions for themselves. Don’t oversell your products. Instead, focus on empowering your customers to make the decision to purchase themselves.

9. For something to happen

Boredom is the bane of human existence. Sometimes what we desire more than anything else is change. How can your product or service add something new or different to someone’s lifestyle? Keeping afloat of the latest innovations can also help your brand to keep ahead of the curve and remain exciting and new in your customers’ eyes.

10. For love and to be loved

We all crave love. Being a business and being loved can be a challenge, but meeting this need is a sure sign that you’ve made it. Lovemarks are the brands we keep closest to us. How do you become one? Chances are that by meeting the other nine needs listed here, you’ll be well on your way to securing that coveted space in your customers’ hearts.