The Greater Phoenix SCORE (www.scorephoenix.org) mentors all sorts of businesses in an effort to help people figure out how to market their company. One of the most sought after mentors is Roger Robinson, PhD. Robinson is one of the longest serving mentors in the non-profit agency having been a mentor for over 16 years.
As odd as it sounds, Robinson points out he often hits a roadblock with a client when he asks them to explain the business they are actually in. Robinson points out when someone paints a home they are really in the business of creating an ambiance, an environment, and new surroundings for their customers.
Airlines most likely describe what they do under the heading of transportation, but Robinson believes their real business is getting people to their destinations safely as well as getting their luggage safely into their hands, insuring a comfortable flight, etc.
Yet another example he uses are hospitals which would say their business focus is health, but there are other issues as well. “What is more important than being able to walk out of the hospital,” Robinson states. “What business are the railroads in?” Robinson asks. “Of course they run trains and transport stuff.”
How about the business of reporting the news? There are a multitude of devices for disseminating news from smart phones to lap top computers. Robinson points out newspapers have become sources of information, not just the news. Disney is another good example of a business that knows what it provides its customers. Disney, notes Robinson, admits they are not in the parks business. “They are in the business of making people happy,” Robinson states with a smile on his face.
Marketers will tell you flat out that the key to business success, and understanding of your business, is in looking at your business from the customer/client point of view. “Every customer/client when appraising your product or service asks ‘What’s in it for me?’ (WIFM),” Robinson explains.