Rocket Fuel

As marketers, it’s natural to want to find answers to problems. We’re in the solutions business, after all.

But searching for a solution before clearly defining the problem isn’t just putting the cart before the horse. That’s a cart without a horse.

Because addressing the correct problem is the first step in any successful campaign or launch.

Ask yourself what problem, issue, or need does your solution solve? Or, put another way, what does the world gain by your existence? It seems like such a straightforward question, but clearly and succinctly articulating the right answer—the one that will set you up for success—can be surprisingly difficult.

There are two common barriers in figuring out the problem you’re solving.

First, there can be a tendency to be too short-sighted. We see companies who don’t cast a wide enough net to capture the entire business problem. This narrowcasting can lead to problems later if you try to grow or expand.

Second, some audiences don’t even know they have a problem. They are getting along just fine without you. In this case, you have a solution in search of a problem. So first you need to shake your audience from their sleepy equilibrium to understand (and agree!) they’re facing an issue. Then you can come in with your new technology or product that allows them to solve this (previously never realized) problem.

Note that your audience is always the problem solver. The hero. You are simply helping and guiding them. More on that in a future post.

So before you start thinking about how to launch your world-changing solution, take a moment to step back and ensure everyone’s aligned on the problem you’re solving.

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