Your Customers Want A Hole, Not A Drill

Let’s be brutally honest: a lot of marketing content is self-indulgent and self-centred. It talks up all the good things about a business but rarely acknowledges the needs of the customer. It’s not just a New Zealand thing. It’s a worldwide phenomenon. Check out websites all over the planet and the content will be all about how wonderful the products and services are but with little attention paid to how these things will benefit the customer – and that’s what the customer really wants to know. It goes a bit like this:

Don’t tell me how good you are. Tell me how good you are for ME!

This famous quote from Theodore Levitt, the legendary marketing professor at the Harvard Business School in the 1950s, puts it another way.

“People don’t want a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”

That was Levitt’s neat way of saying that the customer is focused on the end result. And even though he was a marketing professor at Harvard way back in the 1950s, and digital marketing has overtaken traditional marketing in a big way, his words still ring true today. That’s the thing about marketing. The fundamentals and old-fashioned common sense will always apply, even if the platforms that businesses use to promote themselves are becoming increasingly advanced and data-driven.

Levitt’s drill analogy, therefore, is as current today as it has ever been. When you apply it to your marketing content, can you honestly say that it understands the needs of your customers and gives them the solution they’re after? Or is it all about the product or service, and not at all about what your potential customers are trying to achieve?

Business people and marketers in New Zealand, and all over the world, have an alarming tendency to forget that potential customers aren’t as wrapped up in their products or services as they are. What they are more interested in is what those products or services can help them accomplish. Products or services are simply the means to an end. This is what should drive your marketing content strategy. To go back to Levitt’s evergreen quote, your marketing content should talk about quarter-inch holes more than it does about quarter-inch drills.

To create effective marketing content like this, you need to understand what your prospects are trying to achieve, why it is important, what will occur if those things aren’t achieved and the issues or problems that are stopping them from getting it done.

The answers to all of those questions should become the foundation of your marketing content. That applies whether you use a bricks and mortar marketing company or, more likely, a digital agency in NZ.