Product Marketing’s Blind Spot

The fundamental difference between product messaging and solution messaging is the process of breaking down a customer’s problem to its underlying causes. Salespeople have been taught this concept for several decades now, yet over 95% of business-oriented marketing organizations fail to reflect this fundamental aspect of a solution strategy in the content that they produce.

This reduces the relevancy and impact of three key deliverables:

1. Customer-facing collateral
2. Lead generation and nurturing initiatives
3. Sales enablement tools

Unfortunately, product marketing professionals have difficulty discarding product-feature-benefit thinking, and making the transition from a seller-aligned value model to a buyer-aligned value model (see diagram below). As a result, they rarely think about or communicate their company’s value and differentiation from the customer’s perspective in terms of problems, causes, and capabilities.

3Types_ValueModels_sm

Instead, when management decides that “We’re going to sell solutions,” most product marketing organizations adopt a Hybrid Model. This drives a messaging strategy that goes something like this: “You have a problem, we have a solution, here are its features and benefits, and here’s how it’s different… What do you think? “

Unfortunately, this doesn’t build buyer confidence, reinforce the way salespeople have been taught to sell, or lay the groundwork for translating benefits to value and establishing customer relevant differentiation.

So, if you’re a marketing organization that’s serious about supporting a solution strategy, you need to start breaking down customer problems into their causes and formally adopting a Buyer-Aligned-Value Model. It will immediately improve your ability to:

  1. Demonstrate your company’s understanding of the customer’s problem
  2. Translate benefits to value, and intelligently discuss that value and differentiation from the customer’s perspective
  3. And finally, if you properly define the key causes of the customer’s problem so they leverage and reinforce your company’s strengths, you will automatically create a sustainable competitive advantage

For more information on Buyer-Aligned Value Models, you can listen to our Audio Visual Summary of the white paper.

How You Sell Is the Last Advantage