Tuesday, October 1, 2013
I just read a classic HBR article, Marketing Myopia, written by the Theodore Levitt (HBS professor). Professor Levitt discusses the importance of defining industries broadly and focusing on customers' needs and desires (i.e. defining railroad industry as transportation oriented instead of railroad oriented).
Professor Levitt encourages a focused approach on customer satisfaction and urges businesses to work backwards in terms of developing a product. The following excerpt from his paper illustrates his point:
"The view that an industry is a customer-satisfying process, not a goods-producing process is vital for all businessmen to understand. An industry begin with the customer and his needs, not with a patent, a raw material, or a selling skill. Given the customer's needs, the industry develops backwards, first concerning itself with the physical delivery of customer satisfactions. Then moves back further to creating the things by which these satisfactions are in part achieved. How these material are created is a matter of indifference to the customer, hence the particular form of manufacturing, processing, or ... cannot be considered as a vital aspect of the industry. Finally, the industry moves back still further to finding the raw materials necessary for making its products."
This mind-set can be applied to other parts of business/professional life. For instance, if you are applying for a job, consider your potential employer as your customer, and try to determine his/his needs and think through how to present your skills to meet the employer's needs. Emphasize how your past skills are translatable and applicable to current job's needs. And, finally, if you need to gain more skills/learn code/go to school, then develop yourself with the appropriate training and then present your product (i.e. yourself) to your potential employer.
You can find the full article via the following link or buy it from HBR: