What Are You Selling?

What are you selling?


If I asked you this right now and you had to answer right away, I’m betting you’d get it wrong. Well, maybe not wrong, but not exactly right.

For instance, if I asked you what Nike sold, you might say sneakers (or running shoes) , or sporting goods, or clothing.

If I asked you what Coke sold, you’d likely say pop (or soda).

If I asked you what Volkswagen sold, I’m betting you’d say cars (or maybe Beetles)

And if I asked what Michelin sold, you’d probably say tires!


And in all 4 cases, you would be wrong.


You see, Nike doesn’t sell sneakers – they sell motivation (Just Do It).

Coke doesn’t sell pop – Coke sells happiness (I’d like to buy the world a Coke, and keep it company).

Volkswagen doesn’t sell cars – they sell reliability (Have you ever wondered how the man who drives the snowplow, drives to the snowplow?).

Michelin doesn’t sell tires – they sell safety (Because so much is riding on your tires).


As consumers, we rarely buy a “product” or a “service”.

We buy a “solution”.


When you hire someone to look after your yard, you’re not buying a lawn care service. You’re buying a yard that you can be proud of.  A yard that your neighbours might even be jealous of.

When people buy an Apple product, they’re not buying a phone or a computer. There are bigger and faster computers, and there are other phones. People buy an Apple because of status. Apple doesn’t sell computers, they sell empowerment.


Too often, brands focus their marketing around the product that they make, or the services that they offer, when they should be focusing on what it is the consumer is buying – motivation, happiness, safety, inclusion, status, empowerment.


Now, let me ask you the question again.


What are you selling?



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