Why Marketing Your Solution Needs to Start with Product Marketing
May 19, 2022 Edwin Kooistra
When we generally look around and explore the marketing efforts made by different companies and organizations and their relevance to their product and services, we see a common trend. The trend, of course, revolves around explaining the features of a product or service to a new potential customer to convince them to make a purchase.
This is what basic product marketing looks like. This approach should not be the starting point of any marketing campaign or even a primary awareness campaign. Instead, One should move towards solution marketing, where you’re appealing to the customers’ pain points and how will those pain points be solved rather than just explaining the specifications of a product that seems to offer an excellent value proposition.
Marketing your solution is a process that extends far beyond creating an advertisement, writing a press release or printing up some flyers. True marketing is a holistic, integrated effort that encompasses nearly every aspect of your business solution. And it all starts with product marketing.
Product marketing is the process of ensuring that your product is designed and positioned to meet the needs of your target market. It’s about understanding what your customers want and need and then designing a product that meets those needs.
Here in this article, we will explore what exactly is marketing solution, why it matters to deploy solution marketing for different products, and how product marketing differs from solution marketing, as both are often confused.
What is a Marketing Solution?
When we talk about marketing solutions, we are referring to all the different tools and techniques, consultants, and educational material available for you as a business owner to help and aid you in your marketing campaigns and strategy for your business.
In simple words, it is like a solution to all your marketing problems or issues. This could include marketing professionals, consultancies and agencies, and marketing tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush.
Marketing solution providers help you in reaching out to your customers. They support you throughout your marketing journey in defining every stage of the customer sales funnel and help you adapt to the trip. What is interesting to note is that marketing solution providers have years of expertise in the field and are very well versed with the dynamics of your industry as well.
One of the most significant benefits of using a marketing solution is that you have access to experts in your field who have a wide variety of experiences. They have probably made a lot of the same mistakes that you’re making, and they can tell you what works and what doesn’t. This can save you a lot of time, money, and frustration.
This, of course, translates in a very beneficial manner for you because not only do they help you in the earlier stages of defining customer personas and conducting market segmentation, but they can play a key and essential role in defining the strategic positioning of your company as well as the way you reach out with your messages to the target segment.
Similarly, any software or online service, primarily when referring to the SaaS industry, that helps you define and achieve your marketing goals is also considered a marketing solution. We see a lot of marketing solutions available in this sphere of the industry, including different SEO tools and marketing insight analytics software.
Why Does Solution Marketing Matter for Products?
To put it simply, solution marketing matters for products because the target customer segment is always interested in having an answer to their pain point. You’re successful if you can market your product through solution marketing, where you can convince them of how good a solution you can provide to their issue.
On the other hand, if you talk about products and define how they could deliver the performance or what kind of cutting edge technology they have in them without hitting the point of the human psyche where it would appeal to your segment, then, of course, your product service would not reach its true potential.
Here are some of the other primary reasons solution marketing matters for different products and services. As a business owner, you should pay special attention to solution marketing.
Newer Segments and Growth
When you focus on doing product marketing for your product, there eventually comes a time when you saturate the market, and even the customers are aware of your value proposition. What happens is that after the initial product-market fit and launch, your product or service loses out on room for growth, and therefore you need newer avenues.
This is where solution marketing comes in. Suppose you start marketing your product as the solution to a specific pain point rather than a tangible product that can give your segment satisfaction and value proposition based on your need. In that case, you can explore new segments and experience growth.
For example, we can talk about antivirus or security software. If an antivirus provider only focused on product marketing, their product would have been limited to heavy usage data centers, prone to cyber-attacks. But such companies were the first to adopt solution marketing. Therefore, they could market their product even to home users and cell phone users by providing them a solution that catered to the threat of their privacy being compromised.
Value Delivery to Customer
When you indulge in product marketing, it takes time to deliver value to your customer. This is because it takes time initially for you to develop all the campaigns focused on the product and specifications, and then, of course, it takes time for its execution.
At the customer end of things, the customer also requires specific time to understand the product or service’s possible value proposition. This, of course, is a lengthy process that delays the delivery of value and satisfaction to the customer.
This is where solutions marketing comes into play. When you can build on how you’re offering a solution to a specific inherent need instead of a product or service, the customer invests in it efficiently and quickly, thus reducing the time required to deliver value to the customer.
Easier Customer Acquisition
Solutions marketing requires seeing yourself in the consumer’s shoes, considering their difficulties, and whether your solution answers them. Putting your offering in the context of a prospect’s needs accelerates sales into and across an organization.
Because as you are now able to relate to the customers’ problem while realizing how the pain point has been impacting the target segment’s life, it’s more likely that you can present your solution to them organically. This way, they become more receptive to your marketing efforts.
Product Marketing Vs. Solution Marketing – What’s The Difference?
The line between product marketing and solution-marketing can be blurry, but there are some differences you should know. We’ll now look at the key differences between the two. These differences will help you understand the importance of marketing solutions and their services.
Organizational Collaboration and Communication
To bring a solution to the market, increased cross-functional leadership is required. Solutions are enterprise-wide efforts that need extensive organizational alignment and coordination across various departments.
The primary distinction between solution and product marketing is that solution marketing is often an additional activity requiring cross-functional collaboration across business units to bring a solution to market.
Conclusively, this is a significant difference between solution marketing and product marketing because it requires the development of strong relationships across the organization. Still, it also implies heavy dependency between the different functions within the organization in launching a new product to the market.
Expertise and Skill Set
Solution marketing necessitates a broader and deeper understanding of the subject. While the product marketing leader is a product specialist with a deep understanding of the product’s capabilities, the solution marketing professional must have greater domain experience across a broader set of knowledge frontiers.
This includes more items/solutions to know, a deep understanding of the solution market, and staying current on major industry trends and important topics.
Similarly, the overall team involved in solution marketing needs a broader approach toward new ideas and thinking. They need to be more receptive to feedback, and human psychological factors as these two play a critical role in defining and delivering the success of solution marketing efforts.
Messaging and Positioning
Creating solution messaging and positioning is more complicated than creating communication and positioning for a single product or service. We know this because we personally offer professional consultancy regarding Positioning, Segmentation & Messaging.
Because solutions must articulate the value in how a client can utilize their company’s capabilities to address a business challenge, they demand more complex messaging and positioning and more significant subject matter expertise.
Product level messaging focuses on features and functionality, but solution level messaging must define the client segment or industry landscape, including business operations, industry changes, essential concerns, and customer profiles.
The content that must be designed under solution marketing needs to incorporate different psychographic dynamics of your target segment. Then we can say that we are comparing a functional approach versus a more subjective process. This, of course, is a fascinating difference between the two.
Sensitivity and Response
This may seem like a very obscure difference between the two. Still, when it comes to solution marketing versus product marketing, the market response is prone to sensitivity towards the former compared to the latter.
The difference in response and reaction is that solution marketing tries to appeal to the human psyche and promises to solve pain points. In contrast, product marketing offers a product or service with unique features and technology that you might want to incorporate into your lifestyle.
Therefore, there is a need to ensure that marketing messages and campaigns that are being executed under the solution marketing umbrella are well thought out and progressive, cater to the needs of the human psyche and sensitivity, and do not cause discomfort or mental stress to the target segment.
There is always an ongoing debate but whether you, as a business owner, should focus on solution marketing or product marketing. We believe that the answer to this question is solution marketing. This is because a marketing solution is a step before product marketing. It projects the true potential of your product or service to the customer segment and makes it easier for them to grasp the concept and make a purchase.
Later in the product life cycle stages, you possibly need to focus on product marketing to make a distinct mark for yourself among your competitors. Focus on solution marketing to get the most for your product and service and help your customers. It is critical to bring the best possible solution for their pain points.