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BBA Economic Digest: What the Customers Want

What the Customer Wants

Customers don't purchase goods or services; they purchase satisfaction, and if an economic development organization is not about providing satisfaction, trouble lies ahead. This holds true for all businesses. In his 1960 article “Marketing Myopia,” Theodore Levitt, a German American economist and editor of the Harvard Business Review, differentiated between selling and marketing. It's something economic developers should pound in their heads. "Selling focuses on the needs of the seller, marketing on the needs of the buyer. Selling is preoccupied with the seller’s need to convert his product into cash; marketing with the idea of satisfying the needs of the customer by means of the product and the cluster of things associated with creating, delivering, and finally consuming it." There is some evidence that Levitt's writing influenced famed business consultant Peter Drucker, who viewed marketing as the driving force of an organization. Drucker believed the customer should be the main focus. For purposes of an EDO, customers are the citizenry of a community, its existing employers, and prospective investors on the outside looking in. A marketing mindset is about customer service, brand, reputation, stakeholders - everything everyone thinks they know about a community.

Let Us Not Forget

As we enter a new year, I urge my economic development friends to think not only about workers in their communities but about the work they are doing. What kinds of jobs are we generating, do they pay enough to live on, and to whom are they available?

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Commercial Space Flight is the Future

I am currently advising an economic development organization located in a community where a growing space industry holds much promise.

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Back Into the Fold

For too long, the business community has had only a peripheral role in how to reform our criminal justice system. but Corporate America should recognize that it has a strong business interest in the outcomes and must take a greater leadership role.

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The Greatest Need

Economic opportunity happens through skills and well-designed training programs can make a huge difference.

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Focus on Improvement

In advising economic development organizations, our primary role here at BBA, I tell them to think big but plan small.

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