The marketing debate: Should your marketing content be Desire Driven or Problem Driven?

Should you poke the bear in your marketing content

In the realm of digital marketing, an ongoing debate keeps marketers on their toes: Should marketers create desire driven or problem driven marketing content? The answer isn’t as black and white as you might think.

If you write content for marketing purposes you’ve probably sat on the fence of: do you poke the bear and talk about pain points or do you use light inspirational content to engage your purpose-driven audience.

What if the answer is BOTH!

When creating marketing content, consider two approaches.

The Desire Driven Approach

Desire – Obstacle – Solution

Desire driven marketing is all about painting a picture of what could be. It’s about sparking the imagination of your audience and highlighting the benefits your product or service can bring. This approach works best when your product or service is aspirational or luxury-oriented, where the focus is on the benefits and positive outcomes.

The Problem Driven Approach

Problem – Agitate – Solution

On the other hand, problem driven marketing focuses on the pain points of your audience. It’s about identifying a problem your audience is facing and positioning your product or service as the solution. This approach works best when your product or service solves a specific problem or meets a specific need.

Including problem-driven and desire-driven content is the best of both worlds

While both approaches have their merits, the most effective marketing strategies often incorporate both desire driven and problem driven content.

Picture this: your marketing strategy is like a dynamic duo, a tag team of content that packs a punch. On one side, you’ve got your desire-driven content, stoking the fires of aspiration and ambition in your audience. On the other, it’s the problem-driven content, a trusty sidekick that swoops in to rescue your customers from their pesky pain points.

But here’s the kicker – when you bring these two marketing superheroes together, it’s like Batman and Robin or Iron Man and Spider-Man teaming up. You’re not just solving problems, you’re also showcasing the shining, caped-crusader benefits your product or service brings to the table. It’s a one-two punch that’s unstoppable in the world of marketing.

Problem driven marketing content seals the deal without dwelling on the negative

It’s important to note that for a potential client to give you money for a service, you need to solve a problem so they can achieve that dream.

Sure, desire-driven content might get them dreaming, but it’s the problem-driven content that seals the deal. After all, think about it – when was the last time you shelled out your hard-earned cash for a service you didn’t really need or want? It’s the problems, the challenges, the headaches that drive us to open our wallets. Your customers are no different.

To make those dollars rain in, you’ve got to show them you understand their pain points and have the solution they’ve been searching for. Your product or service swoops in, saves the day, and leaves your customer feeling like a million bucks. So, while desire-driven content might light the spark of interest, it’s the problem-driven content that fans the flames of desire, making your customers not just want but need what you’re offering.

But here’s the key: addressing those pain points doesn’t have to be a doom-and-gloom narrative that makes your business look like it’s going up in flames. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Problem-driven marketing content isn’t about dwelling on the negative; it’s about showcasing your business as the shining beacon of hope amidst life’s challenges.

Your brand as the guide, not the hero: lead your audience to success

Think of your brand as the guide, ready to help your client take on the world’s problems. When you focus on addressing pain points, you’re not just acknowledging the issues your customers face – you’re demonstrating that you have the solutions. You’re letting them know, ‘Hey, we’ve got your back, and we can make things better.’

If you genuinely want to be seen as an expert in your field, don’t avoid demonstrating empathy and understanding. Lay out the struggles and frustrations your potential client is facing. If you never mention that part of your story, you risk losing out on opportunities.

How many movies would you watch if the story revolves around a happy family, enjoying a peaceful picnic, attending a wedding without any unexpected drama, and concluding with a heartwarming family supper. The antagonist had nothing to work for, there was no guide to help them achieve something. How BORING is that?

Your marketing content is no different. It needs a story.

Marketing requires empathy and authority

Once you establish that part of your content, diving into your authority will make more sense and your audience will be more receptive to absorbing your credentials and capabilities.

Now, empowering content walks right up to your intended audience who’ve had enough of being stuck. They’re the ones itching to roll up their sleeves and move mountains, and they won’t hesitate to pay you to lead the way.

In StoryBrand style we inject this into your business story. (Never heard of StoryBrand? No worries. Click here.) Leave people feeling inspired or wanting more. In the world of marketing we work our magic painting a vivid picture of life once we’ve nailed the task, and kicked the problem to the curb.

Effectively engage your audience by balancing both approaches

So, should your marketing content be desire-driven or problem-driven? The answer is both. By balancing both approaches in your marketing strategy, you can effectively engage your audience, demonstrate your understanding of their needs, and highlight the benefits your product or service can provide.

By presenting your service as the remedy, you’re turning problems into opportunities for positive change. It’s like saying, ‘Sure, there might be clouds, but we can help. It’s a proactive, can-do attitude that builds trust and confidence in your brand, making your customers feel like they’re in good hands, not teetering on the edge of disaster.

Nicole Gallant

Nicole Gallant is the lead marketing and sales strategist connecting buyers to sellers for 20+ years. Buyer behaviour is definitely her jam. Certified in StoryBrand helping small businesses generate sales with content rich websites, crystal clear offers and effective social media plans. The trick is knowing which words trigger curiosity and interest with your brand and which words to avoid. She coaches female founders how to #ditchthepitch and stop using ego-centric content. Learn more about me »