See A Marketing Problem Before The Solution

Can you see the problem? 
Coming Into Focus
Marketing concerns emerge in comments made by your sales colleagues every day. Whether in meetings, emails or conference calls, when you stop talking and learn to listen you can begin to understand the issues slowing down sales.  Like gradually turning a lens on a SLR camera, a picture of a problem comes into focus. 

Understanding a problem is the only place to start a marketing project. Too often, we want to jump into a solution before we even understand what we are up against. Solutions comes second. 

The First Step - Listen carefully so you can visualize the problem. Your colleagues may be saying... 

“Our customers believe we only sell to the low end of the market and don’t know how many quality brands use our product.”  

“Our customers have a perception about our brand that is just wrong and we have to fix that misperception.”

"We are viewed as too expensive and no one wants to pay for us if they have a cheaper option."

“We need to find a better way to reach more influencers who make decisions about buying products (or services) like 
those we sell."

"Our message isn't getting to an important group in the decision making cycle.”

I like to listen to the frustrations of a sales team as they explain why they think we aren’t as successful as we could be. They are at the front lines and have a first-hand understanding of the problem. Marketers have to keep asking questions to make sure the problem is clear. 

Marketing's #1 Job
We have to imagine what an answer (or answers) might look like and how we can create them and alter perceptions. The astute marketing professional has to imagine how to chip away at these problems and find ways to break down some of these incorrect perceptions.  

Start with the problem
You have to start with defining the problem with great precision. It’s hard to fix something without understanding exactly what is wrong. If you want me to repair a door, is it off its hinge, it there a crack in the panel, does it not fit the frame---exactly what am I trying to fix?

Don't Jump into Fixing Until You Define The Problem 

Before jumping into the tactics, 
can you get consensus, clarity 
and commitment that you have defined the problem?

The hardest problem to fix is the one you haven’t defined and that you can’t clearly see. 

How a marketer should solve a problem

1. Listen. (Ask questions- don't make statements)
2. Define the problem.
3. Get consensus on the problem. (not the solution)
4, Get consensus on how to measure success. 
5. Propose solutions. 
6. Test those fixes.

I know it is hard not to jump to solutions but your success will increase when you agree on the problem you are trying to fix. 

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