Pent-Up Demand.


I speak to clients and prospects all the time about what I call pent-up demand. Find where the pent-up demand lies for your product or service, I tell them, and you’ll be chasing success.

A more common approach is to position around a common or commodity demand (or value) and that’s a heavy slog. Often you must rely on advertising to differentiate. And much of advertising today is C+ at best. The worst positioning approach is when there is no pent-up demand for a product value and you have to educate your way there. That’s truly expensive. A classic example of this from my career was in the telecommunications business, selling 800 service to large corporate customers. One of AT&T’s advantages was a faster connect time. It might take 1.8 seconds to connect parties using AT&T while competing services (MCI or Sprint) could take, say, 3 seconds. It took millions of dollars of advertising to educate the market this was a thing. And millions more to educate them it was a valuable thing. There was no pent-up demand; we had to create it. But not everyone has AT&T’s budget.

Focusing on the pent-up demand for your product or service – find something that’s missing or unfulfilled – and use it. That’s good brand craft.