Focusing on What Won’t Change
“People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!"
Theodore Levitt, a legendary marketing professor from Harvard Business School, said it in a seminal paper titled Marketing Myopia. Theodore also said this:
The railroads did not stop growing because the need for passenger and freight transportation declined...They let others take customers away from them because they assumed themselves to be in the railroad business rather than in the transportation business. The reason they defined their industry incorrectly was that they were railroad oriented instead of transportation oriented; they were product oriented instead of customer oriented.
If you are following news related to Uber, they don't call themselves as a taxi company. They don't even think of being in a business that moves from Point A to Point B. They are in business moving people and things from one place to another.
This connects to another favourite thread of mine, Amazon. Jeff Bezos always asks his team to focus on things that do not change. No customer is willing to pay a high price for products. No customer wants slow shipping.
In companies that are doing extremely well, I see one of the two (or both) these principles followed diligently:
Understanding the things that don't change
Know what job a customer is doing with the product/service
Why cashmere? Because I was using something that theoretically never goes to waste. You never throw away a cashmere pullover. The idea of manufacturing something that you never scrap, you never throw away — I liked it very much.
Tomorrow, I want to write about companies that have understood the principle #2 really well.