Sometimes I get too focused on the little, daily details that I forget to see the larger picture. Do you ever feel that way? And how about this — sometimes I get so jazzed about a new product idea — like almost obsessed — that I forget to think about my customers, and how they will experience my latest item. What about you? Can you see the forest for the trees?
The marketing guru Ted Levitt warns that when businesses define themselves too narrowly, they make it impossible to adapt to the ever-changing wants and needs of their customers. In the same way, our businesses become nearsighted when we fail to see our products from the perspective of the larger market. For example, Black & Decker might think they are in the business of selling cordless drills. But when I bought one, what I really needed was a 1/4″ hole. See where I’m going here? Black & Decker doesn’t sell drills — they sell a way to make holes.
Put another way, I could design the latest and greatest scarf, knit it from the finest wool, and then package it with beautiful wrapping paper and ribbon. And, I would be pretty psyched about this new product.
But here’s the kicker: I would be myopic if I thought I only sold scarves. Because, the truth is, I sell warmth. I sell a finishing touch on a cute outfit. I sell an opportunity to support an independent artist.
Sometimes we need a little attitude adjustment. We get so focused on product development, taking great pictures, and writing compelling sales copy (And don’t get me wrong — these are important!) that we don’t remember our customer.
The thing is, though, we are not in the goods-producing business, but in the customer-satisfying business.
Instead of telling your story, show your customers your place in their story.
Ask yourself, “What business am I in?”