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High-end Interior Marketing according to Theodore Levitt

Wayne McMaster

29 June 2017

Theodore Levitt was a German born American economist and professor at Harvard University, he became renowned after publishing Marketing Myopia in Harvard Business Review.

He went on to make some remarkable statements, a couple we are looking at in this article:

  1. What BUSINESS are you in?
  2. People don't want quarter-inch drills. They want quarter-inch holes

1. What BUSINESS are you in?

A phrase that demands our account for the significance of the job we do. As a result high-end interior brands should see their purpose as delivering what people really want, not just selling their product. They should focus on the customer, rather than concentrating on a particular product. In the long run, a successful business is one that continually adapts to meet customer needs.

Here's a neat summary of his theory that supports our position in branding to discover what a company's true PURPOSE, really is: 


2. People don't want quarter-inch drills. They want quarter-inch holes

This is the reality when we shift our focus from our product-led persepctive as a brand owder of products to view life from the customer's position. Well-established, iconic brands, forget that today’s consumers are generally well-informed and won’t always buy their product even with a recognizable name attached to it.

Most interior business owners still think that they’re just selling a product or service. When they attempt to sell just products or services, they focus on portraying facts and informing. Facts and information rarely motivate us. People aren’t prospects when they’re not motivated. Especially with the social media boom, where there is constant communication between brands and their consumers, people are looking for brands that EMBODY HUMAN TRAITS and are more receptive to their emotions.

High-end interior brands continue to focus on selling the features and the results, not the benefits and the solution.

When you tell me your new kitchen will help improve the value of my home, that’s a fantastic result… just what I want – except that’s what every other kitchen company is likely to be telling me this too.

What differentiates you?

The brochure that talks of Shaker or Raised Fielded doors, Inframe or Front frame, the soft close doors or the particular extra white goods that come with the deal? That’s ok, I get it, I'll make my choice.

The result you provided, nor the features you told me, hit me on an emotional level. I don’t feel an internal motivation to buy your product.

If my logical mind convinces me, I MIGHT buy it, you might convince me, that this short 'SALE' window should push my decision into action—but you'll have another sale, and aren't they all having a sale on the high street? Now how would a strategic brand marketer sell a beautiful crafted kitchen product?

By emphasizing on the SOLUTION and the BENEFITS

The solution that I will FEEL the enjoyment and improved quality of life from being more organised as a result of being able to spend more time with the family, or bringing family and friends together in this new space. The solution that I will be relieved from feeling cluttered, space poor and stressed. The solution that I will feel happier and more at ease. The benefit that by having a well designed, beautifully crafted kitchen, I will be able to impress my friends, and feel confident, it may even save my marriage (if it had come to that).

As a consumer, when I hear the benefits and solutions, when you make me feel the solution of buying your brand or product, you’re no longer selling me something, you’re making a promise to me. Now I’m emotionally connected to your brand and product, now I can hold you accountable, and holding you accountable gives me a sense of security in buying from you.

Market the idea, don't sell me the product.




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