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Whatbusi nessar eyour eal l yi n?

Whati si ty ourc us t omer sr eal l ywantt obuyf r om y ou? ByT r i c i aMey er

Considerforaminutethatasabusinessownerj ustmaybeyouhavenevergiventhosetwoquestionsproper reflection.ManyimportantbusinessleaderscametothatconclusionasthesetwosimplebutessentialquestionswereraisedmorethanfiftyyearsagobyHarvardBusinessSchoollecturerTheodoreLevi inhis famousarticle"MarketingMyopia. "ProfessorLevi believedthatinorderforabusinesstosurviveover time,itmustbelesspre-occupiedwithwhatitwantstosellandinsteadfocusonsatisfyingwhatitsprospectivecustomers’needorwanttobuy.ProfessorLevi reasonedthatacompanyfailsnotbecauseitisno longerina“growthindustry”butbecauseitsbusinessleadersfailtograspthecompany’ spurposeforbeing. Infailingtograspitstruepurpose,thoseleadersthenfailtoadaptproductsandservicesascircumstances, technology,regulations,orenvironmentalconditionschangethatshouldleadtothecreationofnew and be ersolutionstowhatarereallythesameage-oldcustomerproblems.

Instead,Blockbusterquicklyfounditselflimitedbyabusinessdependentonoutdatedtechnologyandexpensiverealestate…amodelthatseemedoldschoolevenwhileBlockbusterwasscramblingtokeepsufficientnumbersofj ustreleasedmovievideosinstockandavailableontheshelves.

Asayoungmarketer,myfirstboss-agraduateoftheHarvardBusinessSchoolandanacolyteofProfessor Levi-made“MarketingMyopia”myassignedreading.Somethirtyyearslateritremainsthesinglemost importantbusinessreadingIhaveeverdone.Andlikemostgreatlessonslearned,itsprinciplesareso simple.

Theydon' tbuytaxservices,theybuythebenefitofknowingthattheyarepayingtherightamountoftaxthey arerequiredtopay,notapennymorenorapennylesstoavoidIRShassles.How canyoufullyhelpthem do that?

Considerthis.AtonepointBlockbusterwasabreakthroughbusinessinwhatwasconsideredagrowthindustry.Itemergedj ustashomevideotapeplayerswerege ingcheaperandmorecommonplace.Blockbuster saw anopportunitytorentmoviestopeoplewhocouldwatchthosemoviesinthecomfortoftheirown homes.Andforawhilebusinesswasgooduntilbe ertechnology-firsttheDVD andthenthecomputer—camealongtomoreeffectivelydeliverthatentertainment.ButwhatifBlockbusterhadbe erdefined theirbusinesspurposeandnotdefineditbythestoresandthethencurrenttechnology.Whatifinsteadthey focusedmoreonthecustomerstheyservedandtheentertainmentthosecustomerswereseeking? Would theyhavemovedtomoreeffectivelyretainthosecustomersthatwerecapturedbythelikesofNetflix?

Ma r k e t i ngMy o p i awa spubl i s he di n1 9 6 0i nt he Ha r va r dBus i ne s sRe vi e w. Re a dt hee nt i r ea r t i c l ebyThe odor eLe vi. h p: / / www. c a s a doga l o. c om/ ma r ke t i ngmyopi a . pdf

Andlookattherailroadindustry,theexampleProfessorLevi usedinhis1960article.How mightthecompaniesinthatindustryevolvediftheyhadn’ tsonarrowlydefinedtheirbusinessas“therailroadbusiness” andinsteadsaw theirtruepurposeasmovingpeopleandgoodsfrom onelocationtoanother? Peopledon' tbuyonehourwork-outsessions,they' rebuyingabe erbody,abe ervisionfortheirlifeora healthierthem.Sohow doyouhelpfulfillthat?

They' renotbuyingcomputerskills,butthepossibilitiesforabe erpayingj obortobe erstayintouchwith theirfriendsandfamily.How doesthatinspireyoutothinkdifferentlyaboutyourservicesandyouradvertisingmessage? Peoplebuybenefits,notfeatures,notstuff.Seldom isthephysicalitem orservicepurchasedthethingthatis actuallysought. . . itismerelypurchasedasameanstoasatisfyingend. Seektodeterminethetruepurpose,therealreason-for-beingforyourbusiness.Expressthatpurposeinbenefitsyourcustomerswant.Youmightj ustlandonanimportantbreakthroughinhow youdefine,promote, buildandevolveyourbusinesstoa ractanddeeplysatisfytherealneedsofyourtargetcustomers.

Cur r e nt l ywi t haFor t une500c ompany, Tr i c i a' se xpe r i e nc ei nc l ude sadve r t i s i ng, mar ke tr e s e ar c h,di r e c tmar ke t i ng,pr oduc tde ve l opme nt ,andpr oduc tmanage me ntf oravar i e t yofgr e atbr andsac r os s i ndus t r i e si nc l udi ng he al t hc ar e ,s of t dr i nks ,c e r e al s ,i ns ur anc eandfinanc i al pr oduc t s .

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