Let’s start out by stepping away from your marketing role for a minute. You are also a customer, aren’t you? What do you dislike the most in the various kinds of brand communication you receive? Maybe it’s a lack of connection between your needs and the presented offer? Or the copy supporting the product doesn’t really convince you to find out more about it? If any of this sounds familiar, it means that a marketer somewhere forgot about the WIIFM factor.
The acronym that says it all
Could there be an easier way of evaluating any marketing message than “What’s in it for me”? Everyone uses this strategy of evaluating offers all the time, from advertisements to workplace decisions to requests from friends. Using the What’s In It For Me? approach is an integral part of any offer:
WIIFM is the stuff that shows how or why or what you have to sell or say matters to those who you are trying to sell or say it to. It’s the value proposition, the thing that makes them realize that what you’re offering is worth their money or their time.
Basically, What’s In It For Me? is about sending the message that potential customers expect to get. It can be the deciding factor when a prospect is thinking about buying your product or going to the competition. So what should you do to make sure that WIIFM is baked into your communication?
- Learn as much as you can about your audience
- Communicate the benefits of your product or service to users
- Be sure that each component of your communication strategy speaks to their needs
Even if you are running a small business, your local market can still consist of a wide variety of customer types. Lots of marketers think that they get a better idea of who their customers are by trying to build buyer personas, basing them mostly on demographic data.
There’s nothing wrong with constructing personas per se, but it’s a huge mistake to think that categorizing customers according to age, gender or location is anywhere close to being enough. The idea of What’s In It For Me? will help you create engaging content that your customers will love.
What’s In It For Me 2.0
Modern customers are defined—and define themselves— through a high volume of small interactions in a different online and offline channels. Their actions in various touchpoints, taken together, form a pixel-by-pixel image of their needs, wants and preferences. To ignore all the data generated on mobile devices, on websites, through email interactions and more is to ignore 90% of the information that tells you all about the real “persona” that you’re searching for.
But is it even possible to learn about the personal needs of every single customer and then deliver the message they want to see? Even if you know the theory behind WIIFM, the practice has changed significantly these days.
Until now, this was only an option for deep-pocketed Fortune 500 brands with the financial resources to hire consultants to analyze big data for them. Now, there is an easier way that is accessible to brands of all sizes in the form of advanced marketing software powered by Artificial Intelligence and machine learning algorithms.
Such software can gather comprehensive data from all customer touchpoints and recommend similar or complementary products based on purchase and viewing histories. AI can help with serving What’s In It for Me?- compliant content in real time. This is very useful in e-commerce, where keeping up with customer actions is critical. Planning future marketing campaigns based on knowledge of user preferences is also possible thanks to prediction algorithms that evaluate possible outcomes of various marketing scenarios.
Even when you have extensive knowledge about your customers’ needs and likes and know how and where to reach them, you still need to be able to close the deal and convert. To help customers across the finish line, you need compelling copy describing your products.
The right copy at the right time
People who work in the same company for several years can become the victims of what is called the curse of knowledge: they assume that others will understand everything that they say about their professional field or that everyone has the same background as they do. They use a lot of mental shortcuts and branch vocabulary in their presentations and marketing copy. When this infects marketing communications, both sides suffer:
Try to think about what you want to tell your customers and how it aligns with their motivations for engaging with your brand. Remember that features sell benefits. If you are the producer of lawnmowers, you don’t focus on horsepower, RPMs and make-believe technologies such as “titanium powered super-long-blades”. Instead, you focus on the practical benefits that result from this feature.
Of course, there are many B2C and B2B products targeted at very specific, professional, and technically-oriented audiences. There is no one message that speaks to the entire spectrum of customer segments and limitless wants and needs. Still, the pitch to customers should always be supported with benefits:
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Our long-wall shearer was designed to excavate even the thinnest coal seams and maximize the productivity of your mine.
Now you know what your customers like and how the language of benefits can boost conversion rates. All you have to do is to merge these two factors into one personalized form of communication and you’re 90% of the way to success. The idea behind WIIFM should be the driving force behind your entire communication strategy. Ultimately, the only thing that your customers are interested really is… what’s in it for them.
Start thinking in terms of what’s best for whoever is reading your message and not for whoever wrote it. You’ll be better able to address the needs that will lead to emails getting opened, links getting clicked and conversions being made.