(Pain) Killer Marketing

This isn’t an original idea from me but I am sharing it because it is so clear,valuable and helps the novice understand what a new business/product/service must do to succeed. I have heard it mentioned casually on several marketing podcast and on twitter but I don't know who deserves original credit. 

Market pain killers not vitamins.
You should be selling a solution that is a pain killer solving/fixing/curing something that really hurts. If your product isn't creating pain killers fixing tough and difficult problems you are in trouble. Pain killers solve deep and important business or consumer needs. When you are using a pain killer (software, a delivery service a great website) you almost can't live without it. If the business disappeared and your pain reoccurred  your need (problem) would still exist.

Vitamins on the other hand are for long term health. You don’t take a vitamin and feel better that same day. You use vitamins as supplements. Pain killers are different. If you every had a toothache and got some heavy duty pain killer until you could see your dentist, you know what I mean. If your back is killing you, a pain killer alleviates the hurt now.

Metaphorical Pharmaceuticals
This notion of pain killers of course is purely a metaphor but an interesting way of thinking about what your business must do to be successful. Successful businesses solve painful problems. If you solve small problems that businesses or consumers have, it can be difficult to be noticed or distinguished from your competitor. When you help me with a deeper problem and your solution eliminates the pain- that is marketing power. As you develop a new app for an iPhone or a new frozen appetizer for the gluten-free consumer, ask yourself what deep problem are you fixing? 

Here are three examples of deep pain killer marketing opportunities waiting to be cured.

Pain: Annoyingly loud leaf blowers that disturb the peace
Pain Pill: When Mr. Dyson (of vacuum fame) finally creates a leaf blower that is as quiet as his fans, he will be solving a deep problem. Efficient leaf cleaning without the loud intrusive noise. 

Pain: Ugly, expensive solar panels.
Pain Pill: When roofing materials are made of mini-solar panels that look like a traditional roofs and cost the same as traditional shingles, then someone is going to hit a home run. The company that innovates and combines shingles and solar panels into one product will be solving a big pain point for consumers like me who want a more attractive solar solution. 

Pain: Lack of fresh, local produce in a city or under served neighborhood
Pain Killer: Think Good Humor Trucks meets the farmer's market. Farmer's market trucks that deliver fresh vegetables instead of ice cream. Portable health comes to under served communities. 

What are you prescribing for your customers; vitamins or pain killers?

Notes: My blog is designed for those trying to unravel some of the mysteries of marketing. If you enjoy my writing, won't you share my posts with your marketing friends? Thanks. 

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