Why Asking the Question ‘Why’ Is So Important


While reading your favorite strategy and business information outlets, have you noticed that a lot of people are talking about finding your “why” to attract customers? These articles often center on differentiation which is worth considering because at the heart of most why questions you will find the answer to what makes the situation, product, or market unique.

Although there are some clear distinctions between business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets, they each hold some major commonalities.

For one, the buying cycles have become longer for most products and services as people have fewer disposable dollars. As a result, they want to stretch them with careful purchases. Another is purchase motivations are often motivated by long-term quality requirements. So either your brand is in the exact right place with the exact right message or it will not be purchased. And of course, the cost of a sale is higher today than ever before. That’s why so many niche players have flooded the market to try and get a small market slice to gain sustainability.

These factors and many others place enormous pressure on marketers to answer all of the “why” questions their potential customers, or consumers, have about their products and services. There are several ways you can ensure you are on solid ground while answering them:

  1. Never promise one thing and then offer another thing. A great example of this is an online company marketing its “predesigned templates” that a customer can use when in reality the customer will have to pay the company to create each template.
  2. Understand that the traditional, linear sales and marketing funnel is dead and has been replaced by continuous and consistent interaction with the customer.
  3. Know that your company needs to provide meaningful dialogue with all of its customers and prospective customers on a daily basis to attract and retain them, not just when you have something to sell them.

The day of simply proving to customers you have what they are looking for is gone. Today’s smart marketers know that in order to grow their customer base they need to surprise their customers with added benefits, even those they didn’t promise.

Tom Marin is the president of MarketCues, a national consulting firm. Tom serves as a senior advisor and change-management consultant with 35 years of experience. He has worked for some of the world’s largest corporations, as well as middle-market firms. Tom's focus is to plan and drive strategy shifts and strategic growth programs in the printing industry and a diverse range of market areas.
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  • Bob Webb

    This article has been the topic in our sales meetings for the last several years. It is not unlikely that any one of our print competitors have the same equipment so in order to stand apart on a daily basis we need to ask this question and “listen” closely!