One of the great meme/clichés since 1992 has been the form based on James Carville‘s famous slogan for the Clinton presidential run: The Economy, Stupid. The popular version always adds “It’s” upfront, as I have done above. The point of his slogan was to keep Clinton campaign workers focused on the main points the campaign was trying to make (it was one of three). My point is to keep you focused on the marketing you should be doing. That introduction out of the way, let us address my point – it’s the solution.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat with clients and listened to their spiels to potential investors or customers and come away not understanding why either of those groups would give the client any money. I used to wonder the same thing from the other side of the desk when I was listening to people pitch me new partnerships or technologies when I was at the NHL. In both cases the person speaking would explain the features of their product or company but they’d miss the most important point: how what they had solved a problem. Actually, how it solved MY problem.
If you’re a marketer, you can’t assume your audience has any clue what your product does or what problem it solves. I’m amused by the brands that go straight to paid search marketing or other immediate calls to action, never having done any brand building. The classic framework for marketing (AIDA) begins with “attention.” Branding campaigns get that attention and build awareness. That’s the time to educate the audience on one thing: how the product solves a problem and why that solution is the best one for the audience.
So it’s the solution, stupid. Identify the problem you’re solving, make sure it’s a big enough problem (one that a large number of people have, even if they don’t know it yet) and then market the solution. Advertising the product, not the solution, is a recipe for disaster. Make sense?