Understanding your customers’ Needs Stack

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5. General

Understanding your customers’ Needs Stack

Welcome to the sixteenth edition of ‘3-2-1 by Story Rules‘.

A newsletter recommending good examples of storytelling across:

  • 3 tweets
  • 2 articles, and
  • 1 long-form content piece

Let’s dive in.


🐦 3 Tweets of the week

Fascinating. No wonder Indian Americans do so well. I wonder how this trend might change in the years and decades ahead with more options coming up in India and some immigration restrictions in the US.


Interesting perspective on the importance of style – or delivery – to the outcome. Useful when speaking in large gatherings like town halls.


I LOL’ed watching this video :D.


📄 2 Articles of the week

a. ‘Global fertility has collapsed, with profound economic consequences’ by the Economist
Interesting perspective about how, given the falling fertility levels, AI and Robotics innovations could not have come at a better time.

Eventually, therefore, the world will have to make do with fewer youngsters – and perhaps with a shrinking population. With that in mind, recent advances in ai could not have come at a better time. An über-productive AI-infused economy might find it easy to support a greater number of retired people. Eventually AI may be able to generate ideas by itself, reducing the need for human intelligence. Combined with robotics, AI may also make caring for the elderly less labour-intensive. Such innovations will certainly be in high demand.

b. A day in the life of a food delivery executive by Dharmesh BA 

Always good to come across some solid primary research. Here’s a food delivery worker describing his day:

We get paid according to targets: 650 rupees for 13 orders and 975 rupees for 19 orders. To meet the target of 13 orders, I am working from 11 AM to 11 PM. Yesterday, I completed 19 orders from 12 PM to 11:30 PM. I begin my deliveries at 12PM, take snacks at 3-4 PM and work a full shift of 11 hours, including a mandatory 30 minutes before and after. I usually do not take any breaks. Instead, I just grab a snack between 4-6 PM when orders are low.

While this does seem like a brutal workday, I believe in the power of the market to normalise the pay and working conditions.


📖 1 long-form read of the week

a. Using the Needs Stack for competitive strategy

Jason writes deeply about how to succeed in business, especially startups. This piece about understanding your customer’s needs stack is a foundational one and should be read by all startup founders… and even corporate/social sector executives who have customer-facing roles.

“Sell benefits, not features” marketers have told us since the universe cooled enough for galaxies to form. We’re supposed to say “saves time” rather than showing a screenshot of the feature. (Or better yet, “grows revenue.”) For Charlie, say “Become famous” rather than “Get a website.”

And yet, does an Engineer looking for a database infrastructure solution really want to be told “saves time” or do they want to see specs and features? (A: Specs and features.)​

If a construction worker is looking for a wrench, do they search Google for “wrench that saves me time” or “socket wrench for a 5/16” lock nut?” And when that person clicks a link to potentially buy the wrench, do they want pictures of happy people “saving time,” or do they want to see the specifications and features like “has a mounted light.” Do they really need to be told “the light is useful to see in dark corners?” Oh! Thanks for spelling out the benefits of photons!


And this one (emphasis mine):

When Charlie embarked on this project, the search might have been something like “best way to publish online,” not “how to become a famous globe-trotting speaker.” After reading some articles about how WordPress is inexpensive, popular and has all the tools you need, maybe then Charlie moved down the Stack to search “how to get a WordPress site.”​

If someone has in their head “get a WordPress site,” you want to meet them where they are, and talk about how your product is the best way to “get a WordPress site.” That’s the part where you talk about features​

However, benefits still have a role to play, because it’s true that these features are a “means to an end,” and the more you convince the customer that you’re the best means to that end, you win even over alternatives. So, you can sell the benefits that are one level higher on the stack.


That’s all from this week’s edition.

Photo by chester wade on Unsplash

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