When putting together a marketing campaign, most business owners think about the features of the product or service they’re selling, rather than the problem their product solves.

This is a mistake.

In a now famous observation made by Professor Ted Levitt at the Harvard Business Review – “people don’t want a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.”

Small businesses can’t afford to spend as much on marketing as larger companies, but neither can afford to create ineffective marketing. So how to you ensure that you create marketing that connects with people?

Well, the biggest mistake you can make is to start with your product and service. Never assume that just because you intimately understand your product and service, others will automatically love it simply for what it is. You need to step back and think about your audience. What pressing needs do they have that you can solve?

Car manufacturers have known this for a while. If the only ‘need’ being solved by cars was transport from point A to point B – they wouldn’t create hundreds of different models. Some cars target the need of being seen as successful, some getting kids to school safely, some being able to access tools when working on a building site. Each model is created, and then marketed, to help solve a different need (at least the success models ;>).

It can be scary to narrow your focus down to smaller sets of prospects, and then specifically position your offerings to solve those problems – but you can address the needs of your prospects better than the rest, you can expect to prosper over your competition.