All Marketing is a Felt Need

By Rob Eagar

In my work as a marketing consultant, I’ve met numerous authors who work in academic circles, such as counselors, professors, pastors, and specialty book publishers. A common problem among these scholastic groups is the tendency to believe that their marketing should be exempt from the need to answer the consumers’ primary question, “What’s in it for me?” Appealing to a person’s felt need is viewed as stooping to a lower level of commerce.

They maintain that focusing on logic, displaying didactic descriptions of their content, and listing pedantic endorsements should rule a promotional campaign. I would agree that this attitude makes sense if you only want to preach to the choir. But, if you want to expand sales beyond just a small restricted club, that type of narrow-minded approach will limit your growth.

Some academic leaders forget that everything is a felt need. People aren’t robots. Logic might make us think, but it is emotion that makes us act. Every decision, no matter how academic, is still infused with the desire to protect and achieve our self-interests. Ironically, the most studious people in the world still buy fancy food because it tastes good, nice clothes because they look good, fine wine and fast cars because it makes them feel good.

Marketing efforts are rarely effective when you treat people like robots who should ignore their self-interests. Robots don’t run our economy. People do. People who buy things according to a desire that says, “What’s in it for me?” Therefore, when it comes to marketing, no matter how academic the product, everything is a felt need.

About the Author

Rob Eagar is the founder of WildFire Marketing, a consulting practice that helps authors and publishers sell more books and spread their message like wildfire. He has assisted numerous New York Times bestselling authors and his new book, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire, will be published by Writer’s Digest in June, 2012. Find out more about Rob’s advice, products, and coaching services for authors at:

You might also like:

One thought on “All Marketing is a Felt Need

  1. Khara H.

    Well my goodness … I just spent a semester teaching rhetorical analysis (among other things, but ethos, logos, and pathos came up continuously), so this was kind of like a slap in the face … or at least a nudge to wake up! I’ve always thought of self-marketing on the logical front, though recently (thanks to some of the platform building work I did through Robert Lee Brewer’s blog in April) I’ve been able to turn more toward the emotional side of things and think, “How can I make this appeal to the readers I’m trying to reach?” It’s definitely changed the ways in which I’ve approached a lot of things, particularly my writing; I’m thankful for this post, for reminding me that just as I’ve pointed out to my students that in advertising the marketers strike at the emotions first (almost always), that’s work I need to do as well, reaching out and saying, “This isn’t just about me .. there’s something in here for you, too!” Thank you so much for this post!!


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.