Marketing P.A.I.N. – Part 4, When People Realize They’re Hurting

Whatever you choose to call this awareness, people don't buy anything until they recognize the feeling caused by a lack of it in their lives.

There are three ideas critical to the Marketing P.A.I.N. concept.

1.Nobody buys anything until she becomes aware that the absence of that thing in her life causes discomfort.

2.Your prospective customer will be much more likely to pay attention to your advertising when you match your marketing message to her specific stage of pain.

3.While the degree of pain is a recognition of intensity of the need felt by your prospect, the stage of her pain is an acknowledgment of her awareness of that need. These two ideas are independent of one another.

Let’s clarify those points.

First, we’re referring to the feeling caused by physical or emotional distress as “pain.”

Why call it pain?

Truthfully, because P.A.I.N. becomes a straightforward acronym.

M.I.S.E.R.Y. does not.

E.M.B.A.R.R.A.S.S.M.E.N.T. is nearly impossible.

Whatever you choose to call this awareness (discomfort, longing, loss, disappointment, anxiety, embarrassment, or in our case, pain) people don’t buy anything until they recognize the feeling caused by a lack of it in their lives.

Second, out of self-defense against information overload, most of us ignore everything that doesn’t appear to effect us directly. (Some estimates have us exposed to thousands of marketing impressions every day). Matching your message to her stage of pain immediately tells our prospective customer that you’re speaking directly to her, about things that matter to her.

And finally, our focus on the Stages of Pain is based on the prospect’s awareness of need, rather than on the depth of the need. Stage 2 pain is not a greater intensity than stage 1. It is a greater understanding that something is lacking in her life. The magnitude of pain is personal, but people’s reactions to pain are similar and predictable. You will recognize the stage of pain by the actions a person takes.

Now, on to Pain Stage 2.

At the second stage, people are becoming aware of their discomfort. This awareness is generally a slow process, and is often only grudgingly admitted.

Typical Stage 2 messaging is “Let us tell you all about us.

A much more salient Stage 2 message is “Do you have this problem?

Early stage buyers need to know you can help them, even if they don’t yet have the vocabulary to ask the critical questions. Sometimes people don’t realize their discomfort until you point it out.

Advertising at Stage 2 should concentrate on your prospect’s new awareness of the problem. At Stage 2, the single thought we wish to plant in people’s minds is, “we understand, and can relieve your pain.”

Here’s a great example of an ad that makes people aware of their own discomfort. The Sherwin Cody School of English ad “Do You Make These Mistakes In English?” ran for 42 years, only changing the typeface and photo from time to time to keep it updated. (Now THERE’s a return on investment we can all envy). Click the ad to enlarge it for easier reading.

This ad from Cash Call addresses people who have come up a few bucks short before payday.

Need some cash to stay afloat? Cash Call wants to get you the cash, fast, without collateral because we trust you. Just call 877-860-CASH. And remember, make sure you can afford the monthly payment before you borrow. Make the cash call at 877-860-CASH.

Though the target in our next example also needs cash, JG Wentworth’s end user is a more qualified prospect – one who owns an annuity. As is typical of Stage 2 prospects, Wentworth’s candidate is just becoming aware of the possibilities.

Announcer: A JG Wentworth Success Story.
Felecia: A few years ago I inherited an annuity from my grandfather. I started receiving monthly payments from his insurance company.
Announcer: Recently Felecia’s employer moved to another state, and she was left out of work with lots of bills to pay.
Felecia: I heard about JG Wentworth through TV ads.
Announcer: I told Felecia that they helped thousands of annuity holders get their cash now.
Felecia: And they made it really easy.
Spokesman: Its your money. Use it when you need it.
Voice Over: Call 866-447-0910.

Once you’ve determined that your most profitable customers are at Pain Stage 2 ( just becoming aware of the nature of their discomfort) make it easy for them to get information from you. Make it easy for them to see themselves easing their pain by buying from you.

And remember that any medium can carry any message. These Stage 2 examples used television and magazine ads to deliver the words. You may find, though, that other media with less mass might convey your message more efficiently.

Consider the return on advertising investment should you choose to employ signage, newsletters, brochures, specialty advertising, or public speaking as alternatives to radio, television, newspaper, and outdoor ads.

Your Guide,
Chuck McKay

Marketing consultant Chuck McKayYour Fishing for Customers guide, Chuck McKay, gets people to buy more of what you sell.

Questions about focusing on the issues your customers care about may be directed to Or call Chuck at 304-208-7654.

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Marketing P.A.I.N. Series

Part 1, Relationships
Part 2, What Do People Want?
Part 3, Advertising the First Stage of Pain
Part 4, When People Realize They’re Hurting
Part 5, Testimonials and Comparisons
Part 6, Make It Stop!
Part 7, Tie It All Together

Part 8, Message Frequency, Media Choices, and Tracking