Just ask yourself "Why?"

Sometimes we can get caught up in the "how" during business but I think it's important to step back every now and again and ask the question "why". 

"Why would someone want my product and service? Why would they choose me to purchase this from over someone else?"

Starting with your "why" question, more often than not, helps you easily work out the answer to your "how" questions. 

Over the last few weeks I've been working with clients on their plans for 2018 and one thing that stood out to me was the amount of "how" questions I was asked. "How do I get xxx to work with me" or "How do I get xxx to purchase this". So during the calls I switched it around and asked them the questions "Why would they want to work with you?" or "Why would they want to purchase it from you". By asking these questions you have to really refer back to your brand definition. What makes you different, what makes you special. By going back to this core understanding of your business you start to get the answers you need to answer the "hows". 

Read some more about defining your brand story in my Refresh marketing series. 

Let's create an example to work through this idea. You're an online card shop that makes modern cards  (such as the brand mean mail) and you ask the question, "how do I get more people to buy from my online shop".


To answer this question you want to instead ask "why would people buy from me over all the other online card shops". To answer this you can go back to your brand definition / brand story. What makes you different from other online cards stores?

  • Maybe you started the brand when your boyfriend dumped you using a card saying "you're dumped" - that's a brand story people wouldn't forget 
  • You offer free shipping and next day delivery when 50% of other businesses similar to you don't
  • All your packaging is recyclable - so anyone who wants to feel more environmentally friendly can do so when buying from you 
  • You allow people to pick the colour of the envelope the card gets sent with 
  • When you buy 5 cards you get one card free which is personalised with a funny note and sent to your house. The free card will also include a gift of a temporary tattoo which says "bite me". 

Having the answers to "why" will let you work on marketing your business to the "how will I get more people to buy from my online store" - you have the answers you just need to make sure that people know about all of these things through your marketing. 

Going back to this "why" question is crucial not only with sales of your product/service but also within your daily business too. A popular story with the use of asking "why?" is from "The 5 Why technique" developed by Taiichi Ohno and used within the Toyota Motor Corporation. With every issue they had they would always ask "Why" 5 times. 

  1. "Why did the robot stop?" The circuit has overloaded, causing a fuse to blow.
  2. "Why is the circuit overloaded?" There was insufficient lubrication on the bearings, so they locked up.
  3. "Why was there insufficient lubrication on the bearings?" The oil pump on the robot is not circulating sufficient oil.
  4. "Why is the pump not circulating sufficient oil?" The pump intake is clogged with metal shavings.
  5. "Why is the intake clogged with metal shavings?" Because there is no filter on the pump.

I'm sure you're now thinking, how does a broken robot compare to my creative business, but I implore you with your next issue or with your next marketing question, try asking "why" and see what answers you get. 

As always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me or drop me a message on Instagram

IMAGE: Mean Mail