The Power of Why

I have two kids under the age of four, both of whom are now talking. I tell you this because lately my house has been awash with the word “why.”

At first it started with just my oldest answering any statement with the word “why.” Now that her brother is talking, let’s just say the power of imitation has taken over.

Here’s what a typical conversation in my house looks like:

“Please don’t touch the oven.”


“Because the oven is hot.”


“Because I was cooking dinner.”


“Because we need to cook our food before we eat it.”


The questioning goes on until I lose my patience and inform them we’re done discussing it to please just do as I ask. (This violates my oath to never tell my kids to do something “because I said so” since I hated that when I was young, but that’s for another post on another blog.)

Why do I share this little story? Because the next time you go to write a piece of marketing copy I want you to remember my kids.

Because “why” is a powerful word that can make your marketing copy stronger.

Digging into the Benefits

Ardath Albee had a great post on her blog a couple of weeks ago on how to market above the noise. I won’t recap it here you can go check it out. It’ll just take a minute. I’ll wait…

With that framework in mind, how can you create benefits that are specific enough to motivate prospects? By acting like my kids and asking “why” until you get to a benefit so specific it will sing out to your ideal buyer.

So the next time you’re tempted to whip out a benefit like “improve results” remember to ask why.

  • Why are “results” important?
  • Why are the current results inadequate?
  • Why should the prospect care about improving them?

If you answer questions like these well, you’ll come to a stronger benefit statement that will make your target prospect stand up and take notice.

Digging into the Prospect’s World

You can also use the power of why to dig into your prospect’s world. It’s no secret that personas can help you create stronger copy. The problem is many companies use “titles” to describe a persona. They’re so much more.

Use “why” questions to dig into your prospect's world and help you picture the folks you want to speak to. Your personas will be stronger. And the copy that relies on them will convert better.

  • Why do I want to influence this person?
  • Why do they think they have a problem?
  • Why would they use my product to solve that problem?
  • Why would they want the benefits my product provides?
  • Why should they change what they are already doing?

Answering questions like these helps make your copy strong enough to fight the incumbent.

Who’s that?

The status quo. Don’t underestimate it.

Digging into Your Value Proposition

Creating a solid value proposition can give marketers fits. In fact, Jill Konrath recently featured an ebook on her blog on how to create a strong value proposition.

Don’t forget to keep those “why” questions coming to dig into your own backyard and shore up your value statement.

  • Why would prospects choose me instead of what they’re already doing?
  • Why would they pick me instead of my competition?
  • Why is my product different from others in the marketplace?
  • Why should they believe what I have to say?

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous marketers have trained prospects to be skeptical of anything that comes out of a company representative’s mouth. As a result, you’ll have to work harder to gain and keep their trust. “Why” questions can help you do exactly that.

Bottom line: Unlike with kids, you can never take the “because I said so” approach with your marketing.

Prospects don’t have a problem because you said so. They don’t want to solve it because you said they should. And they won’t buy from you because you say you’re the best.

They want to know why.

Are you telling them?

What do you think? Do marketers utilize the power of why enough?

*Image courtesy of Horia Varlan


  1. conmanai dgrasdd

    The Silent Shard

    This could likely be very beneficial for many of your jobs I plan to really don't only with my website but

  2. Roxie

    Hello there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew
    where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having trouble finding
    one? Thanks a lot!

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