Perhaps that’s a bit harsh, but the truth is that your target market does not actually care about your brand and your product or service. What they care about is what it can do for them.

Does your product/service fill a need? Create a positive effect (e.g. more knowledge, sharper professional output, faster time, better looks)? Realize a dream? Fulfill a desire?

These are benefits for your target market and these should be the focus of your marketing efforts. For example, hardware stores sell millions of nails and screws to buyers, but what the buyers wanted was not a nail or screw, but a hole.

So what hole do you fill? A fundamental exercise for your team is to create lists of your product’s features and benefits. These terms are lumped together so often they are perceived to be identical, but they are not at all. Simply put, a feature is like a spec; details about what your product or service is. For example a law firm’s features might be that it consists of x attorneys with a specific focus. Benefits are what those features can prospectively do for a client; such as enabling them to win a case, protect them from lawsuits, etc.

Some products have succeeded by appearing to create a need. Soda, for example, was not a need. Marketing created a need/desire for an effervescent drink. This is a doable strategy, but expensive, as you will need to expend considerable resources for an extended period of time on communicating and convincing.

If your marketing is ineffective, take a step back and make sure you understand what your customers gain by purchasing your product or service. It may or may not be what was originally intended! A great way to do this is through market research – let your customers tell you what they believe the benefits to be. Then follow through to ensure your marketing highlights and drives home those benefits!