What's Your Problem?

Now that the holidays are upon us, this seems to be an appropriate question. It’s usually stated sarcastically at the end of a long day that includes shopping for gifts for people you are not even sure you want to know anymore.

Sarcasm and Black Friday aside, it’s actually the most important question you can ask (nicely) all year round.

Many businesses – new and established – like to think that their product or service is the best on the market. It’s the thing that everyone will want and it will win them accolades in trade journals and conference board rooms. In Marketing, we often compete against our fellow marketers that our product is the best the company has to offer.

But the reality is, what WE think of our product or service does not matter. (Ouch, that hurt!) What matters is what our customers think! (Isn’t this what every marketing blog talks about? Boring!)

I would actually argue, it’s not what our customers think that matters. Not at all. (Hold the phone…)

What really matters is – who has the biggest problem that my product can help solve? And who has the most immediate need to solve it?

I’ve worked for very large brands – $350MM in services and $1 Bn+ consumer products, but one of my favorite problem solving moments was for a small non-profit in Newton, MA. They were receiving donations of goods all the time – when people moved or children grew up or people simply realized they did not need something anymore. These donations came in everyday and often blocked the way to offices and doors! And the best part was, the folks in the organization knew how to solve the problem separately and just needed some help pulling everyone together. It only took organizing 3 meetings over a 2 month period – the clean-ups, the new process and the new handling for intakes were all implemented and are still working for the organization over a year later.

So, what are the biggest problems you see people having? Do you have a way to solve them?

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