The Need vs Want Showdown – 4 Ways to Know the Difference so That You Won’t Fall Flat on Your Face


A lot of people interchange the words want and need without knowing that they are different from each other. Unknown to you, making this fatal mistake can affect the way you market your products and services.

Not knowing the difference between “need” and “want” will make you see them as having the same meaning. At that point you are stuck in the trap where you start acting on the wrong meaning.

One of the skills to master as an entrepreneur is the skill to clearly distinguish between needs and wants.

The knowledge you have on what needs and wants are can either make or break your business. You need to focus on what your audience wants and NOT what they need.

Thought it was NEED the whole time? Now you know you were wrong.

I think it’s now time for you to know the difference.

Here are some things to help you:

  1. Need is something you figure out from the outside while want is something deep seated. 

    Just by observing your target audience you can (most often than not) tell what your audience is lacking. The question is, do they really think they want that vaccum filled?As an entrepreneur you need to be sensitive to your target audience. You’ll only know what your audience wants when you make attempts to explore what’s lodged inside them.

    Feelings of fear, desire or anger aren’t things that are easily noticeable on the outside. You have to dig deep to find those. And the way to do that is to actually talk to your target audience one-on-one.

    The problem is that some entrepreneurs don’t want to do that. They find it easier to pass out surveys for people to fill so that they can analyze the data.

    I’m not saying data’s not important. It is! In fact, you need it! But you need the first hand evidence from your audience more. You have to speak to them and find out what they want.

    Yes, it will take time, but once you’ve done the work, the rest is pure profit.

  2. Need is objective while want is subjective.

    Your audience will always go for what THEY THINK is important to THEM and not what IS actually important.Look at it this way. When you were at school, what was the first thing that was required of you as soon as arrived home?

    Do your homework.

    But what did you want to do instead?

    Watch TV, use the internet, play games, [enter other attrocities here].

    You see, you  needed to do your homework but you wanted to do something else. That’s just how your audience is like too.

    So you can’t just sit there and assume that your audience will jump at what YOU think useful to them. No way!

    You can always rationalize what your audience needs. The key to knowing what they want is to do deeper and understand them. This can only come about when you build a good relationship with your audience.

    Ask them questions that will make them reveal what exactly they want. You can’t get the answer by asking “Hey, what exactly do you want?” because, to be honest, they have no idea what they want.

    What they want is something personal to them. And you need to dig deep to find it and give it meaning.

  3. Need appeals to your intellect while want appeals to their emotions.

    Yes, your audience go for what they feel is the most pressing thing at the moment.Ever heard of “pain points”? Pain is an emotion, so is desire. Those are the things your audience goes for and not what you were able to reason out.

    Humans feel. A lot. That’s why you need to find out what is that thing that triggers their desire. That is what they want. Once you find it, use that same desire to reel them in.

  4. Need is logical while want doesn’t necessarily have to be.

    Let’s face it. Sometimes our audience want some pretty weird things that make you go “WHAT!?”Ever created a killer product only to get crickets while the one not as good sold like hot cakes? Yeah, it doesn’t make sense but that’s what your audience wanted.

    Once again, you cannot base what you rationalize as a basis for what you think your audience wants. You’re not selling or attracting yourself. You are targeting other people. If you want them to come, then it has to be by their rules.


This just shows that your business is what your audience wants. What your audience needs, although essential, should take the back seat.

Now for a smart tip!

Attract your client with what they want. As you give them what they want, educate them on what really is important so they can enjoy full value. Now everyone wins!

Do you get confused with need and want? Let me know in the comments.

Author: Vicky Law

Freelance writer and content marketer on a mission to kick ass, touch hearts and pick your target audience’s pockets with my writing.

Interested? Click here to hire me…before I’m fully booked.

By Vicky Law

Freelance writer and content marketer on a mission to kick ass, touch hearts and pick your target audience's pockets with my writing. Interested? Click here to hire me...before I'm fully booked.

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