The more appropriate question: Is your business product oriented or customer oriented?
I recently read Marketing Myopia by Theodore Levitt for the Harvard Business Review. It intrigued me the questions he poses in his book because it really got me thinking about what business I was really in. Naturally when he asked that question, I said to myself the event planning business. He quickly proved to me that that was only half correct.
Mr. Levitt took me on a ride, making various stops through history, showing me how we think we are in the selling business. Selling our products and services to consumers, hoping they will come back for more. Only improving upon it when we are threatened by competition. But what we don't realize is that if we want to survive in a growing economy we have to understand what it takes to be in the marketing business. Marketing the value of our products/services to consumers and stressing how it can improve or enhance their lives.
"The difference between marketing and selling is more than semantic. Selling focuses on the needs of the seller, marketing on the needs of the buyer. Selling is preoccupied with the seller's need to convert the product into cash, marketing with the idea of satisfying the needs of the customer by means of the product and the whole cluster of things associated with creating, delivering, and finally consuming it."
It seems that with the economy making so many people (and companies) money hungry, selling a product or service is all they care about. Thanks for telling me about that new product I just HAVE to have in my life, but what is it's value to me? Why should I spend my hard earned and scarce cash on what you have to offer?
These are the questions I am now going to think about when I market SOA Event Concepts, LLC to potential clients. Why SHOULD you spend your dollars on my service? Of what value am I to you? After reading Marketing Myopia I can now answer that question with the realization that I am not in the business just to provide a service that can make your life easier, but I am also in the business of providing time and event management. A valuable skill that allows you to focus on other areas of importance within your business. My company is in the business of pooling resources to make your event dream an event realization.
So ask yourself, what business are you REALLY in?
"The view that an industry is a customer satisfying process, not a goods-producing process, is vital for all businesspeople to understand. An industry begins with the customer and his or her needs, not with a patent, a raw material, or a selling skill."
The Unemployed [but Empowered and Knowledgeable] Entrepreneur