People don’t want what you make

blog people dont want

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. They want a quarter-inch hole.”
– Harvard marketing professor, Theodore Levitt

As Seth Godin puts it, “People don’t want what you make.” Don’t worry, people don’t want what I make, either. No one really wants to spend time and money on marketing. We’d rather have prospective clients just show up on our doorstep. But the one thing I’ve learned in building and investing in 27 companies is that marketing determines your real success.

We don’t want marketing, we want clients. We don’t even really want clients, we want the success and great feeling that comes from helping make people’s lives better, and that comes through serving clients. To get that, we need great marketing.

Marketing isn’t about what you sell, it’s about how you sell it and the emotions you create as a byproduct of what you sell. A sense of belonging, connection, self-worth – that’s what you’re really selling. Your product or service isn’t what’s important. The problem you solve, and the result that creates for your clients, that’s what’s important.

Really, people don’t even want a quarter-inch hole.

As Godin points out, they’re really after a shelf, or the organization that comes from the shelf. That feeling of accomplishment that’s the result of installing the shelf, and the contentment that comes every time they see that shelf, and the feeling of how much more organized they are now, thanks to their hard work.

In essence, home improvement stores like Lowes or Home Depot aren’t selling drills. They’re selling self-sufficiency, a sense of accomplishment, and self-worth.

What do you really sell? Is that what you’re communicating in your marketing?

All the best,

Bill Bice

Recent articles

newsletter 01

Want marketing tips?

Join thousands of other marketers and learn with us

Recent podcast episodes

Scroll to Top