The product of the product


Many, many years ago I read a short book on marketing called Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Reis and Trout, published in 2000! Still available as a paperback from Amazon.

About all I recall is their maxim that businesses need to think about “the product of their product.” To illustrate it they ask the question: why do people buy drills? Because they are drill collectors? Because they love the sound of drilling? No. Because they want to create holes. Customers have no interest in the drill per se. It is a means to an end.  A hole is the benefit delivered by the product, the drill.

I often tell this story to entrepreneurs to get them out of their default product development mode and into the mind of their customer, who usually could care less about the product but cares deeply about the product of the product: the benefit. Often a solution to a problem they have, but sometimes a new opportunity it presents to them.

This maxim applies even to service businesses. If you are a consultant to a business you need to think about what benefit your service to the business is delivering to their customers.  The customer of the customer is also your customer.

I may reread this book now. You may want to check it out. Though much has changed since it was written over 16 years ago, mainly the advent of the Internet and social media marketing, many of the core principles remain the same. And positioning is one of them.

Author: Mentorphile

Mentor, coach, and advisor to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. General manager with significant experience in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Focus on media and information. On founding team of four venture-backed companies. Currently Chairman of Popsleuth, Inc., maker of the Endorfyn app for keeping fans updated on new stuff from their favorite artists.

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