Probably one of the most famous quotes in marketing; “People don’t want to buy a quarter inch drill, they want a quarter inch hole”. Theodore Levitt

A statement that’s just as true today as it was in 1960. People don’t want what you make; they want what it will do for them.

Take the motor car. More specifically what’s a teenagers first car for? It’s not simply a mode of transport because few purchases create more change than this one. Most teenagers make it through university without a car. This is a want not a need.

For the teenager it marks the change from dependent child to adulthood, a rite of passage, a shift in status, in perception and status. For the parent it offers freedom and responsibility which often leads to discussions about safety and control and of course what will the neighbours say?

Meanwhile, back to the quarter inch drill. The lesson is that the drill bit is merely a means to an end and it’s not just a hole. No one wants a hole. What people want is a shelf that goes on the wall once the hole has been drilled. More to the point what they want is how they feel once they see how uncluttered everything is once they put all their stuff on the shelf.

They also want the satisfaction of knowing they did it themselves or maybe an increase in status when their partner admires their work, or a peace of mind that comes from knowing that the bedroom is clean and tidy.

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