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Problem solving products help customers overcome status quo. Make that change easier

Updated: May 14, 2020

Companies are increasingly acknowledging that in order to highlight the value of their product/service they need to present what's the product solving for the client. Pitching presentations and marketing campaigns are often times focusing on the problem solving capabilities rather than the technical features of their product. This approach is surely customer oriented and I value it.

I recommend developing products that are pain killers and I believe it’s best to approach product development from the “problem space”. However, when attempting to introduce the product to customers we shouldn’t take it for granted that what works best is hearing about the pain-relief that it provides. That is, one has to make the difference between the aim and the way that is communicated; people are motivated in different ways and one of the ways in which we are different is our tendency to either move away from something or towards something.

To put it differently, in a given context, some are moved by a desire to avoid "pain" whilst others feel the urge to act when they perceive a possible gain. For the former group, highlighting the pain-relief opportunity will be motivating but not for the latter group. In some cases the difference is only a matter of wording and yet the effect is meaningful on our unconscious.

To give a simple example, an automation products/service can be presented as reducing operational burden/costs or as increasing efficiency. Apparently, the two are fairly similar and yet the former would be more appropriate for a moving-away person whilst the later would resonate with a moving-towards person.

To be clear, although the effect on the unconscious decision making process would be different, the ultimate decision will still depend on whether the client actually has such a need; the choice of worlds will help us on getting the message through and then the prospective client can make a decision depending on his/her needs.

How do you then decide the best way of conveying the value of your product? The starting point is interviewing clients/interested parties and asking what has motivated them to consider your product or what it’s important for them when considering the problem you are trying to solve (eg. What is important for you about…? ); looking into their choice of words will show you if they are moving-away or towards and then you can adopt your language accordingly.

In some cases, one can notice there is a predominant motivation pattern among the (potential) adopters and consequently, when marketing for large groups one can decide to adopt the language that resonates with that motivation strategy. For example, most individuals have a move away motivation strategy for insurance products and a move towards motivation for investments. Often enough, no predominant tendency is identified among those interviewed; in this case, when marketing for large groups, is best to combine wording that resonates with both groups.

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