A Quarter Inch Drill Bit

I’ve started reading This Is Marketing by Seth Godin. Much of Seth’s work in grounded in “the story you tell”. We’ve talked about “What do they want from you?”

I wanted to share this great excerpt from Seth’s book:

Harvard marketing professor Theodore Levitt famously said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. They want a quarter-inch hole.”

The lesson is that the drill bit is merely a feature, a means to an end, but what people truly want is the hole it makes.

But that doesn’t go nearly far enough. No one wants a hole.

What people want is the shelf that will go on the wall once they drill the hole.

Actually, what they want is how they’ll feel once they see how uncluttered everything is, when they put their stuff on the shelf that went on the wall now that there’s a quarter-inch hole.

But wait…

They also want the satisfaction of knowing they did it themselves.

Or perhaps the increase in status they’ll get when their spouse admires the the work.

Or the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the bedroom isn’t a mess, and that it feels safe and clean.

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. They want to feel safe and respected.”

Many times I’ve told the story of the consultant who asked the weather staff,
What do they want from you?” The weather staff gave good answers like: accuracy, credibility, the extended forecast. The real answer was, “They want you to protect them.”


Clayton Christensen asks, “What are they hiring you for?”

I expanded the consultant’s answer to, “They want you to look out for them. To help them grease the skids of their day.” To show up, on our own trustworthy, useful platforms…..with a quarter-inch drill bit.

About Kevin Selle

Chief Meteorologist, KFDX-TV. Co-host, WeatherBrains.
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1 Response to A Quarter Inch Drill Bit

  1. Pingback: Trolling From Inside A Can Of Pringles | Digital Meteorologist

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