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“Just Take My Money”: What Sleep Deprivation Has Taught Me About Marketing

As I write this, I have an almost 6-week-old sprawled out on a pillow in my lap, and I’m typing on a TV tray about 2 feet away from my body, precariously dangling my arms over her so as not to make any sudden movements that might wake her up.

That’s because it took literally two hours to get her to sleep after her middle of the night feeding last night, and I don’t have that kind of time to get her back to sleep currently.

Everyone told me when I had a baby to sleep when the baby sleeps, but I happen to have one of those adorably-cute-but-also-adorably-annoying babies who refuses to sleep during the day except when being held by someone, preferably me. So sleep has been…elusive, lately.

Thankfully, she’ll sleep in her bassinet at night (though it sometimes takes 2 hours of coaxing…), but I remember around week 3 there was one night where she simply wouldn’t sleep. Bleary-eyed at about 4 am, I was scouring the internet for help. The next morning, I presented my husband with a new bassinet, a sleep training course, and a whole host of other products that promised to help, and he turned to me and said the words I never thought I’d hear my frugal husband say: “I don’t care what it costs.”

In the same vein, I’ve also been scouring the internet for the best baby carriers so that I can, you know, move from the couch at some point. The amount of money I’ve spent over the past three months on baby gear that promises to make new parenting easier speaks to my desperation to make it through the incredibly oversold fourth trimester without losing my ever-loving mind. You could seriously sell me anything at any price right now if it would let me sleep more. As such, I’ve been bombarded with two kinds of Facebook ads: ads for products to help babies sleep and ads for literally every baby carrier under the sun.

And every time, despite realizing that I don’t need 300 different sleep sacks and yet another baby carrier, I find myself clicking on the ad, going through comments, hoping to find the one thing that will finally give me a ray of hope besides “she’ll grow out of it.”

So what does all this rambling about sleep have to do with marketing?

What all of these cleverly-targeted ads have capitalized on is a pain point I have: sleep deprivation. And man is it a powerful one!

While you may not be lucky enough to be able to capitalize on such a powerful and motivating pain point as that faced by bleary-eyed, overwhelmed first-time parents, you SHOULD be marketing to your audience’s pain points. A pain point is simply a problem that your audience has that your product or service can solve. So instead of saying that this company offers the best baby carrier ever, they instead say that they were created by a mom who was sick of being stuck on the couch 20 hours a day with a baby who would only sleep on her. Because THAT is exactly what I’m experiencing.

What is the ultimate pain point that all humanity has? Our need for salvation through Christ, of course. But starting off an ad with “we have Jesus!” isn’t going to resonate with someone who doesn’t recognize that is the solution to their pain point. Rather, we instead want to focus on what people experience that makes them feel the need for a savior – the “bigness” of the world, a tragedy that doesn’t make sense, that feeling that “something’s missing.”

Think about your product or service. What evangelistic pain point does it solve for your audience? What would drive them to need it? (Hint: It’s probably very similar to why you created it.) Focus on telling that story first, and you’ll have people throwing their money at you to solve their problems.

And if you have any recommendations for products that will help me get more sleep, I’m all ears.

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