Do customers know your WHY?

Do you have a great product or service, but are having a hard time connecting with users and converting them to customers?

How are you marketing your business?

Are you focusing on what your product or service is and does? Or are you focusing on why people should care about your product?

Sadly, I’ve spent the last two years focusing on the what of my product, and not the why.

No mas.


The why

This week, a friend, Donna, who does marketing research for a large company was in town for a consumer behavioral psychology workshop, and we started talking about what inspires consumers to buy.

She said it’s the why, not the what.

She challenged me to think about why customers like my product and to think differently about ways to get my marketing message across. This got me thinking about the advantages of using something like Heap Analytics in order to utilize customer data to see what brought them to my products. Then she showed me this amazing story, and my gears started grinding:




A great example of getting the why right

Donna told me the story of how back in the day, Michelin tires struggled to connect with customers because they were focusing on the what of their product: how great and amazing their technology was.

Except no one cared.

Then they came up with a new tagline: “Michelin. Because so much is riding on your tires.” And added babies to their commercials. Here’s a circa 1980 something video:



Adding babies, that’s just unfair, and genius! That was 30 years ago, but today dogs, cats, and babies rule the internet. Don’t believe me? Post something on your Facebook page with your babies, if you have any, and see how much more engagement that post gets.

Anytime I post my twins on Facebook, comments and people come out of the woodwork. It helps that my twins are adorable. Ahem.


A recent Facebook post of my kids. Over 100 likes and dozens of comments.
A recent Facebook post with my kids. Over 100 likes and dozens of comments.


Here’s an article that describes that Michelin tagline as the best in advertising.


A framework for the why

My buddy, Matt, who runs a creative shop, Detonator, introduced me to the concept of the Golden Circles and shared this graphic with me; it’s Apple’s why:


Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 9.25.53 AM


Then he shared this Ted Talk from the guy whom I believe created the Golden Circle concept; it’s about how all great companies focus on why, and not what.



What this all means for my biz

After taking this all in, I reflected on all the customer testimonial emails I received, and even called a few customers. I wanted to know two things:

  1. Why they display pictures in the first place? and
  2. Why they love their WeMontage?


I even went in the Never Settle Club Facebook group to get feedback from people about why they display photos (I highly recommend this group. Friend me on FB and I can invite you, if you’re interested).

The feedback was overwhelmingly consistent. People display photos for three reasons. Photos make them:

  1. Feel love in some way
  2. Feel happiness, or
  3. Feel inspired


And my customers love WeMontage because they can customize the number of images they use and can make it as large as they want.

So, they end up experiencing more love, more happiness, and more inspiration.

But I’ve been doing it all wrong these last few years. I’ve been focused on removable wallpaper, no nails in the walls, cheaper than picture frames.

All what, what, what.


And that’s clearly how consumers have felt because the concept still hasn’t caught on.

But the love, happiness, and inspiration why feels like it has power.

I’ve already changed the copy on the home page and got rid of all the what crap at the outset. The top part of the home page looks like this now:


Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 9.41.13 AM


And below that, I moved the “What is a WeMontage” section down and replaced it with this, more why stuff:


Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 9.42.41 AM

Then it’s all the what stuff. Before it was all what. What, what, what.

Again, whatever.


Results matter

I’ll be closely monitoring my conversion analytics metrics to see if this change results in better site performance and more sales.

Fingers crossed!


What is your business’ why? Have you been focused on the what all along? If so, how’s that been going?


[Tweet “Do your customers know your WHY? #business #entrepreneur”]





Feature image credit: Quinn Dombrowski WHY?


  1. I LOVE it, James! My WHY for displaying my photos is the memories…I look back and get the warm fuzzies. I hope it takes off now…you know I think WeMontage is a great concept!

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