Obviously, your ads should address what your customer cares about with regard to your product or service.

But if you stop there, you could be setting yourself up for failure.

Because what your customer theoretically cares about now is not necessarily what she’ll care about most at her moment of need.

For example, if you ask a homeowner what she cares about in a new fridge, you’ll likely get a long list of features that she’d prefer to have:

  • French doors with a bottom drawer for freezer items,
  • Large, configurable door shelves,
  • A water and ice dispenser
  • A desired exterior color
  • A preferred brand.

If you listened to that customer, you’d focus your advertising message on your appliance store’s wide selection of top-end brands and models of refrigerators.

But when it comes time to buy, that same customer might well buy from whichever store offers same-day delivery and installation.

Hell, it could well come down to whoever is KNOWN to offer same-day delivery and installation, even if you offer the same service.

You lost the sale cause you advertised the wrong thing.

How Precipitating Events Change Priorities

Except the homeowner never intentionally misled you about her priorities.

She just didn’t think about WHY she’d be buying a new fridge in the first place. No one provided that context to her.

So when your customer’s old fridge failed and she was forced to replace it before her food went bad, her priorities changed.

Or perhaps she never considered the logistics of getting that hypothetical new fridge from the store and into her kitchen, back when she responded to your question.

She mentally skipped that part to focus on what she wanted from her fridge.

But back in the real world, when faced with that challenge, your customer found a store that would handle the logistics for her to be way more appealing than a store with a larger selection or a fifty dollar price discount.

The point: precipitating events and context change priorities.

A Pizza Hut Case Study

This happened to Pizza Hut when they were faced with slow lunch traffic back in the 80s.

Theoretically, people just want delicious pizza.

Contextually, they need to be able to fit eating a dine-in pizza into their tight work schedules.

Once Pizza Hut switched their ad messaging to focus on those contextual priorities, their lunch business boomed.

Find Your Customer’s Precipitating Events

So what is it that triggers customers or clients to need what you sell?

What is the CONTEXT around their buying journey?

And how do those triggers and that context change their priorities?

Because when it comes to customer wants, it’s not just a matter of what, but when.

Make sure you add that to your messaging for maximum results.