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What business are you REALLY in?

The starting point for any marketing analysis or business plan is to determine: What business are you in REALLY?

This is not as obvious as it may seem. For example, train companies are NOT in the business of running trains (despite what you may think); they are in the business of getting things and people from one place to another. So their competitors are freight carriers, logistics companies, delivery firms, cars, planes and, in fact, any other form of mass transport.

Similarly, the AA, RAC, Green Flag and other recovery services are NOT in the business of fixing cars that break down: they’re in the “providing peace of mind” business.

Domino’s is NOT a pizza business, it’s a delivery business (specifically, delivery of pizza in 30 minutes or less)

And Boots is not a chemist, it’s in the over-the-counter business.

So, asking yourself: What business are we in REALLY? can open up a whole host of potential new markets and opportunities and may provide possible new USPs (as well as highlighting who the competition really is!)

For example, you can pick up a pizza on virtually every high street in the country, but until Domino’s decided they’d save customers the need to call in, nobody thought of TAKING THE FOOD TO THE CUSTOMER with a 30 minutes or less delivery time or your money back as an incentive to tempt customers to the (then) novel idea of having your order delivered to your door.

Now, of course, every take-out offers a delivery service… but Domino’s were the first to ask themselves What business are we in REALLY? and as a result remain the major force in their marketplace.


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