Back to Basics Marketing – ‘Sell The Damn Hole’


“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.” -Theodore Levitt

“Bounce the ball 100x at the side of the court”. That summarised Sakuragi’s first few practice sessions in the Shohoku Basketball team. (from the anime, Slam Dunk)

After being fired up by the possibility of performing dunks in front of the girl he wanted to impress, Sakuragi was not please with that.

He wanted to do the fun stuff, the showy moves, the basketball shots.

But he could only bounce the ball while the rest of the team ‘had fun’.

And he went on to become one of the key players in the Shohoku team.

Similarly, we as marketers and copywriters tend to want to do the showy stuff, read the must read books, do the AB testings, change the fonts, change the colors and maybe something will increase our conversions.

There will always be new techniques and new discoveries in conversions, copy, designs.

Back to the quote, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.” The Harvard marketing professor was reminding his students to understand the underlying reason for a buyer’s need for their product. (and this author urges us to think deeper)

The successful marketers are those who have a strong grasp of the foundation. The true understanding of the buyers’ psychology and the buyers’ desires, along with the ability to structure copy and campaigns around that.

Everything else is secondary.

Written by Yen Yee

Yen Yee

An aspiring digital entrepreneur who continues to learn and find her way around in the online world.


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