Original insights in international business and marketing

The Most Important Question You Can Ask


So much business focus these days seems to be on WHAT to make, WHERE to sell it and to WHOM.  This is standard operating procedure for many businesses.  After countless meetings, conference calls and presentations, a strategy is approved and gets put into practice (the HOW).

On the surface there is nothing wrong with this approach.  Most business books and courses spout something close to this.  And for many businesses this approach is good enough to get by for one more year.  If they at least follow this model, it probably won’t get anyone fired or in trouble.  One dimension, however, that is either lost or under emphasized is the motivation behind the business plan.  WHY are we in this business?  WHY are we different or better?  In Simon Sinek‘s brilliant TED presentation, he states on several occasions that “people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it.”  This simple, yet profound insight highlights at least two massive trends we are experiencing today.


With unprecedented advances in technology, cost reductions and quality improvements these past decades, we are seeing how manufacturers and even service providers are struggling to set themselves apart from each other.  Products and entire categories are becoming commoditized.  What companies sell and even how they sell it are under threat like never before.  Even design, long a refuge of companies trying to protect themselves from foreign rivals, is under threat.  Just look at Samsung successfully compete with Apple’s iPhone with the Galaxy.  Companies trying to once again distance themselves are having to tap deep into the emotional psyche of their enterprise and employees.  They are tapping into their communal “raison d’être” to capture the unique passion that defines their identity hoping that it will resonate with their customer base.  Therefore marketing plans need to identify their WHY and ensure the that the all important WHAT and HOW stay true to it.  Nothing says “fake” like a strategy and action plan that are not in synch with a stated mission or set of beliefs.


Meanwhile, customers too are increasingly searching for fewer yet more meaningful relationships with select product and service providers.  They are looking for content, causes and communities that reflect their interests and passions.  Companies unable to create a meaningful, sustainable and 1:1 relationships with customers must be prepared to see others move into the role of privileged partner.

By understanding the WHY of their customers and by aligning the behaviors and content that define their own WHY, marketers will be able to finally forge a deeper and richer relationship that is based on more than price.

Got any experiences or thoughts of your own that you would like to share?  Leave a comment!

photo credit: angelocesare at photopin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on January 31, 2013 by in Marketing and tagged , , , , , , .

Click to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 188 other subscribers

Time Machine

January 2013

View Andrew Hyncik’s profile on LinkedIn

Who is behind Parifornia?

Andrew Hyncik

Andrew Hyncik

Parifornia is the creation of Andrew Hyncik, an experienced International Marketing executive who's lived and worked for over 20 years in both Europe and North America.

Personal Links

View Full Profile →

%d bloggers like this: