What do you want to sell to whom, and why?

John Mariotti is the author of the new book, “Roadmap to Profitable Growth.” He will be a guest on The Brenner Brief Radio Show on Feb. 25. Mariotti is the former president of Huffy Bicycles and Rubbermaid Office Products Group. This is the third post of a five-part series, and this posting is an excerpt from the new book.

Roadmap front cover image 

“The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.”  I’ve seen this quote attributed to Peter Drucker but I first read it in Theodore Levitt’s classic book, The Marketing Imagination.  No matter who said it first, it is true.  The first question any business must answer is, “What do you want to sell to whom—and why?” What unrecognized needs will you find?  What unfilled wants will you fill?

The next questions follow from those:  “How, where, when, and for how much, etc.” Unless and until those few critical questions are clearly answered, every product, every service is like a solution searching aimlessly for a problem it solves.

John Mariotti is an experienced author and former senior executive, and is a contributor to The Brenner Brief. Twitter: @johnentgrp

John Mariotti is an experienced author and former senior executive, and is a contributor to The Brenner Brief. Twitter: @johnentgrp

It is important to think outside-in since the most important insights come from outside, where customers and competitors are.  Inside is where you have more control over actions but a lot less control over reactions—those mostly happen outside your business.

You can’t control the customer! As difficult as controlling costs, suppliers, employees, world markets, and retailers, trying to compel the consumer or customer to do something is impossible.  They act in their own self-interest, so find a piece of that self-interest that connects with your interest! 

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Comments

  1. Way to many intelligent thoughts involved here. You leave no room for the advertising agents to fail. With some things you don’t even want the opposition parties to know you even exist so that your real customer base doesn’t have a hassle doing their shopping.

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