Why do people spend money? Create more meaningful marketing by understanding human needs

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

On average, West Australian households spend just under $1500 per week (ABS). But what drives people to spend? As marketing professionals, it is important to remind ourselves of the different human needs that trigger people to make a purchase. By doing so, it is easier to create promotions and marketing materials that are more meaningful and relevant to the consumer.

Whatever you are selling, you are responding to a fundamental human need. Whether you are selling luxury apartments, virtual assistant services, or car oil… your product or service will scratch some form of itch for your customer. They are the 7 P’s of purchasing, to change it from the common 7 P’s of marketing ;)

Which ones apply to your brand? Are you adequately communicating it in your marketing? Could you set up a promotion that satisfies say one or two more needs so that you can generate even more business? Here is the list of triggers that encourage people to open their wallet:

1. PLEASURE: People spend money to escape

People need to escape from their daily routines, entertain themselves, or just feel a bit of freedom, think of travels, going to the theatre, or a spa. Tell them how your products or services can help them escape to a world of relaxation and fun.

2. PURPOSE: People spend money to belong

Whether it’s a networking group, sports club, or religion - as social creatures, people naturally desire to be part of a community. Belonging to a tribe feels safe. Show your audience how your product or service can help them ‘fit in’.

3. PROBLEM: People spend money to solve problems

Situations change and things break – that’s a fact of life. Demonstrate how your product or service can solve or fix their problem and you have just given your audience a reason to buy. Tell them how you can quickly solve their problem and they’ll pay more!

4. PROTECTION: People spend money to protect

Whether it’s to protect their body, their goods, their future, their loved ones, or the Earth. Some beauty products and food brands focus their marketing around their ingredients, showing how avoiding certain agents can reduce their risks of cancer, obesity or other diseases. These brands seek to create the notion that by choosing their product, you can be protected.

5. PEDAGOGY: People spend money to learn

Benjamin Franklin once said: “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest”. Societies need educated people as they have increased capacity to help others, which helps them help those around them and so on. People will spend money to learn as it can help them reach a new level in their personal and professional development. Can your brand teach your audience something? Create more value by providing educational content.

6. PRESTIGE: People spend money on prestige

Luxury brands are all about prestige. People indulge. They want to impress and feel the need to display success when and where they can. It just feels so good to flaunt it. Whether it’s by owning this car or buying this upgrade…if it gives your audience the key to unlocking the ‘next level’, then you have given them the gratitude they desire (and think they deserve).

7. PENNIES: People spend money to save

Whether they are saving time or money or both. People can choose to buy your products or services because you are offering them in bulk or as a package. People love (at least having the impression that they are) getting things for free.

In summary, if you can explain in your marketing how your product or service can scratch their itch, you will be able to deliver more meaningful and relevant messages that are more likely to translate into sales.

At the Brand Foundry, we are more than just designers. We have many years of marketing and advertising experience working for breakthrough brands. As well as providing you with professionally designed publications, we can help you to strategize your campaign so you get a better return. Book a free consultation with us.

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