Quarter-Inch Holes

Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt famously said, "People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!"

It's tempting to talk about the features of a product when marketing something, but concentrating on the change it will make in someone’s life is much more impactful.

The luggage startup Away, for example, sells suitcases in multiple different sizes. However, their comparison tool presents the differences between them in terms of the number of outfits you can carry with them, rather than their dimensions.

I don't want a suitcase, I want to get seven outfits to my destination.

Not everyone is a marketer, but everyone can add a more human touch to how they communicate the change they want others to make. Whether it's asking your boss to change a policy, or encouraging the city council to revise your community's zoning laws, focus on what already motivates them.

The impact it can have might surprise you.

Hat tip to Emily Heyward for the Away example, from her book Obsessed: Building a Brand People Love from Day One.


Weekly thoughts on creating systems to sustainably grow your impact on the world.
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