Understanding Your Customer’s Deepest Desires


Marketing is all about targeting your customers by figuring out what they need and how you can give it to them. It’s really easy to say “My product will solve xyz problem.” But it goes deeper than that, as marketers, we want to address our customer’s deepest desires. 

Ca$hvertising by Drew Eric Whitman is a book on the psychology of Advertising and selling anything to anyone. In his book, Whitman presents the idea of the “Life Force Eight” (LF8) which essentially breaks down human desires into eight basic categories. 

Let’s talk about how to use Whitman’s eight key desires  in your marketing!

What are the Life Force 8?

  1. Survival, Enjoyment of Life, Life Extension
  2. Enjoyment of Food and Beverages
  3. Freedom from Pain, Fear, and Danger
  4. Sexual Companionship
  5. Comfortable Living Conditions
  6. To Be Superior, To Be Winning, Keeping up with the Joneses
  7. Care and Protection of Loved Ones 
  8. Social Approval 

Survival, Enjoyment of Life, Life Extension

The first of the LF8 seems pretty simple. Generally speaking, humans have an innate desire to survive, enjoy their life, and live a long life. This is a very common desire that marketing departments target. Think of all the commercials that show off a happy family playing in the grass, or medication commercials. 

Enjoyment of Food and Beverages

Food is a big part of our lives, obviously. We can’t survive without it! If needing food is a given, enjoying it is the logical next step. Restaurants like Red Lobster do a really fantastic job of using this Key desire in their marketing!

Freedom from Pain, Fear, and Danger

The 3rd LF8 is very close to the first in Enjoyment of life. This particular Desire is used by a lot of companies to induce a little bit of fear in order to help customers realize their pain points. Think ads like Security systems!

Sexual Companionship

This is a big one! There are SO many companies that will use this particular desire to sell products that have really nothing to do with sexual companionship. Think of pinup girls to sell cars, ring girls for UFC and Wrestling, Cheerleaders in sports, Fragrance ads, the list goes on! 


Comfortable Living Conditions

This one again ties into enjoyment of life and freedom from pain or discomfort. Indoor mechanical businesses, Realty businesses, and Contractors are just a few industries that may use this particular desire to appeal to their customers. 


To Be Superior, To Be Winning, Keeping up with the Joneses

Luxury brands will often use this desire to even just get people in the door, think Louboutin or Chanelle. Car manufacturers will also use this, especially in ads for pickup trucks. There’s a sense of pride that goes along with the material possessions we own and these industries have taken advantage of that!  


Care and Protection of Loved Ones

You will see this desire being targeted in most stages of life. Whether it be parents looking after their kids, Grandparents enjoying their families, adult children looking out for their parents, even kids looking out for their friends. You most often see this particular desire in ads for medical equipment, or in vehicle ads (Think safety or the “Hockey Parent” trope).


Social Approval

Last but not least comes social approval. This Desire ties in closely with desire to be superior as they play on the same pride and fear of rejection. You will often see this desire employed in new technology ads as the company will show just how many more friends, or people will recognize you if you just had that new gadget. 

Now this certainly isn’t all you need to know about your audience, but it will inform a big part of how you talk to them and the words you use. Audience is a massive part of marketing so if you want to learn more about how to reach the right people, head over to our Training Page to see if our Digital Marketing Bootcamp may be right for you!

Meghan Jobson

Meghan Jobson

Meghan is a Digital Marketing specialist and educator. Her expertise in marketing ranges from copywriting and organic marketing to marketing software customization and CRM management plus everywhere in between! She applies her creative side to solve problems and map out marketing strategies and campaigns.


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