Know your product. Your real product.

My very first Creative Director (Hi, Brian!) once said to me one of those supposedly insightful but at the time mildly mystifying marketing sayings:

“People don’t go out to buy drills.
They go out…to buy holes.”


After I mentally flipped him off and mumbled ‘Whatevah, old man’ (which was awkward as I was older), I began to chew on it. And have been masticating that cud ever since.

It’s like the saying ‘have your cake and eat it too.’
And just as annoying -> provocative -> profound.

To me, it has come to mean that it doesn’t matter what you’re selling; your product is really whatever the customer came to buy.

Here’s what I mean. Brazil’s CNA ostensibly sells language lessons. But that’s not their real product/service. This is:



Whatever language you want to learn is truly about one thing: human connection.

Congratulations, CNA (and their brilliant agency, FCB Brasil).
You know what your product really is.

– D.P. Knudten

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