There’s a critical step at the core of effective marketing, yet it’s often overlooked. It’s finding the real answer to a seemingly simple question: what does your company — or the products and services it provides — actually do for customers? It’s overlooked because the answer seems obvious. It’s crucial because it really isn’t as obvious as it seems. A paint manufacturer understands that it isn’t in the business of making wall coatings; it makes it possible for customers to transform their surroundings and their moods. Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines saw that he was in the entertainment business, not the travel business. So consider it carefully and answer it differently: what do you do?