Marketing Wisdom from Seth Godin: Cat owners don’t buy Fancy Feast for their cats.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Last week several hundred marketers swarmed Navy Pier in Chicago for Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit. I attended for a couple reasons, one being the fact that one of my marketing heroes was speaking- Mr. Seth Godin.

I’ve been reading Seth’s stuff for years and have learned a tremendous amount from the man. Purple CowLinchpinAll Marketers Are Liars, etc. Each jammed packed with their own special nuggets of marketing, business and life wisdom.

That said, this post is less about Seth and more about the pervasive mistake marketers make with the misconception of who their target buyer actually is. Here’s a line from Seth’s talk last week that illustrates this notion perfectly:

“Cat Owners Don’t buy Fancy Feast for their cats, they buy it for themselves. It’s how it makes them feel about themselves. If cats were the target, all cat food would taste like mice.”

As ridiculous as this sounds, it’s spot on. And pretty damn funny. Cats don’t know, or care, if they are getting the ‘timeless flavors of gourmet chicken pate`’. It makes the owner feel a sense of prestige or belonging to a certain status of cat owner. There’s an important, point to this cat food rant, so hang with me.

As marketers, we need to know two things:

1. What we are actually marketing and selling

2. Who we are actually marketing and selling that thing to

If you’ve been a student of marketing principles, you might be familiar with a certain late Harvard Marketing professor by the name of Theodore Levitt. He’s famously quoted for saying “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.” This statement was used to teach marketers and business people about Marketing Myopia. A business suffers from marketing myopia when a company views marketing strictly from the standpoint of selling a specific product rather than from the standpoint of fulfilling customer needs.

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

Fancy Feast Cat Food is not suffering from Marketing Myopia because they know what they are marketing and who they are marketing to. They are marketing a feeling of prestige and belonging to the owners of these fanciful felines. Find your Fancy Feast in your own marketing motions.

Please do not share this post with your cat. I am not interested in debating it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *