essential previous learningPoints of Difference

The ‘So What?’ Test

Do your points of difference pass the test?

Key Learning Outcomes

  • Understand that your customers are your business’s main priority.
  • Determine what your customers want and why they buy from your business.
  • Identify your products’ and services’ points of difference and assess if they pass the “so what?” test.
  • Obtain some tips for passing the “so what?” test from our scenarios and examples.


Once you have defined your points of difference, it is important to make sure they pass what we call the ‘so what?’ test. Too many businesses can rattle off a list of their points of difference without much thought as to what their customers actually want or why they buy from them.

Theodore Levitt, a world-renowned economist at the Harvard Business School and editor of the Harvard Business Review for many years, is considered one of the founders of modern marketing. In one of his most famous works ‘Marketing Myopia’, Levitt posed the question “what business are you in?” This article, first published in 1960, looks at how businesses and even industries can collapse when they fail to consider the customer as their number one priority. In the article he outlines how the railroad industry was once an economic powerhouse that declined due to the failure to understand the basic need of the customer – transportation. This need for transportation did not decline over time, in fact it grew; however, the industry allowed competitors, such as airlines, to fill this growing need. They allowed other industries to take their customers away as they failed to understand that they were in the business of transportation rather than the railroad business.

One of Levitt’s famous examples that is still quoted in marketing courses today, relates to drill bits. He asks the question, “if you are selling drill bits what is your customer actually buying?” Levitt suggests not the drill bit but the hole that it makes. If you take this further you are not in the ‘hole’ business but if the holes are being used to join things together with screws then your business is the ‘joining business’.

Would you like to see the whole article?


Would you like to start driving positive changes in your business? Would you like to see increased productivity and profitability? Of course you would!

As part of our commitment to being a low cost yet highly effective service to help owners and managers of small to medium sized business, we are now offering the first month of your membership for just $1! This means you will get full access to all of the learning articles, tools and tips that our website has to offer and with a commitment to upload at least another 150 learning articles through 2015 there is also plenty more learning on the way. On top of this you will also receive our weekly newsletter to keep you updated on new learning for the week and much, much more!

You can cancel at any time, however, if you see the value in what we’re offering (and we’re sure you will!) your membership will automatically continue after your trial at the low cost of just $19.95 per month. So what are you waiting for? For just $1 you are getting full access to all of our content for 30 days risk-free, so come on and join our community today!


Success is giving it your Absolute Best!