During my stint at Mahindra’s I came across this great insight during one of our discussions with a consultant on the topic of “What are we actually selling? and therefore “What business are we in?”. And the insight has been extremely critical and in fact a game changer both as a marketer and entrepreneur. It’s one of the fundamental questions every marketer or entrepreneur needs to be clear about – for both his and the company’s success depends on this.
At Mahindra’s Commercial Vehicle division, we did not sell trucks, we sold prosperity. That was the business we were in.
People never buy products; they buy what the product can do for them.
Our objective was therefore to make our customer prosperous, So we delivered vehicles that could enhance productivity and lower cost which ultimately made him prosperous. But that’s not the only thing. We also executed many initiatives which helped drive our customers business prosperity but had nothing to do with trucks. A classic example would be knowledge sessions we held wherein experts from various fields were invited to mentor our customers on the right way to do business. This helped improve their efficiency and thereby grow their business. Trucks just happened to be one of the things we were selling in the process. Prosperity was the higher level connect. This helped us establish a relation with our customers at an emotional level. And they bought our trucks too.
The important question to ask is “What does the customer ultimately desires from your product?”
Defining what you are really selling is extremely crucial. If you do that well you can target and communicate with your customer in a much more effective way. Also the way you approach the business is completely different and you have a much better chance of success.
One of my favourite business quotes of all time on this topic is by Charles Revson, the founder of Revlon Cosmetics,
“In the factory, we make cosmetics, in the store, we sell hope.”
And its precisely this understanding of your businesses real emotional connect with the audience that will help successfully position your product/business in customers mind and makes him prefer your brand.
So when you look at it this way, Insurance companies are not actually in the protection business but in the lifestyle continuity business (Source: Forbes Article). A florist is not really in the ‘flower business’ but ‘brightening someone’s day’ business and Starbucks is “in the people business serving coffee, not the coffee business serving people
People ultimately buy what the product can do for them. So a real understanding of the ultimate benefit which your product/service delivers to your customer can really change the way you do business. FOREVER