A few years ago Black & Decker was trying to market their drills. They hired an advertising agency to help them with their positioning. The agency team began working to understand what Black & Decker's target market was (home users) and what made the drill unique (lightweight, powerful, fast drill-bit speed, etc.).

Once the team at the agency heard the client's spiel, they went away.. thought about it.. and then came back with an idea. The idea was that people don't want to buy a drill, they want a hole. And they don't really want just a hole, they want to hang a picture. And they don't really want to just hang any picture, they want to hang a picture that makes them feel better by improving the room. What people really want is to be happy. Ergo: Black & Decker is in the "Happy" business. Clearly this has implications on how the company's drill should be marketed; it has implications on creative; on mediums; etc.

 

Aren't all companies in the "Happy" business?

BMW doesn't just sell affluent people a car – they sell you the "Ultimate Driving Machine".

Apple doesn't just sell you an iPhone – they sell you something that transcends technology and makes your life better "say you're out on the town and want to meet your friends for dinner… there's an app for that"

We bought a big ass Toyota Truck not because my wife wanted a vehicle to tow her horses, but because riding her horse makes her happy and the truck is simply a means to make that happen.

I spend a bunch of time thinking about our customers. In our case we have (2) customers: publishers of niche, professional, and interesting websites; and advertisers that want to reach the engaged audiences these websites attract. The trick we figured out is that behind all the websites and all the marketers are real people that want to be happy. They each have their own unique and important motivations: things they want to accomplish their job, desire to earn a good living and make a difference in what they're doing – to the extent we can help them be happy, then we're doing our job and they're more than happy (pun intended) to keep on working with us to make that happen.