Why Solving Problems Beats Marketing

I am looking out the window of my office seeing buildings with many dark windows, behind those tinted panes of glass are people working and living and they all have problems and challenges…every one.

They don’t care about you or your company all they care about is finding a solution to their  daily life challenges and issues.Why Solving Problems Beats Marketing

Problems come to people in many forms and it creates  nagging and ongoing pain and dissonance that they wake up with every day and it bounces around in their heads as they toss and turn at night.  The pain could be that they are overweight or they don’t have enough money, their business sales are slow or their relationship is so distracting that they can’t concentrate at work. People just want those problems to go away and find solutions to them so they can enjoy life.

Business is about solving problems for people not telling them that your product is the best widget ever invented because they won’t believe you..give them a hint or a tip for a solution to their pain and they will keep turning up to your website or blog to find out more.

So the main question to ask is… what answers and solutions can I provide today to prospective clients that will ease their pain?

Some of the specific questions that you should be asking yourself are

  1. Who are you selling to?
  2. What are their goals and aspirations?
  3. What are their problems?
  4. What media do they rely upon for answers to their problems?
  5. How can we reach them?
  6. What things are important to them?
  7. What words and phrases do they use?
  8. What are they really buying from you?
  9. What images and multi-media appeal to each persona?

So stop marketing and start solving problems in words, images and videos that they understand, are easy to find in places they are, whether that be online or offline.

You might find that they will tell their friends about you on Facebook or in an email…now that is marketing.

Image by Martino!


  • http://www.life-procoaching.com/blog @SerendipityJane

    Thanks Jeff, off to think tank on that one! Will report back! 😉

  • http://www.essentialwholesale.com Kayla Fioravanti

    Great advice!

  • http://www.theorganicview.com June Stoyer

    Excellent reminder that sometimes even eskimos like to eat organic snow cones!

  • http://RichardBejah.com Richard Bejah

    Jeff, you are a master of INFORMATION… Every time I visit you blog you do make me stop and think. Stop marketing and just solve the peoples problems….. HOW BASIC is THAT BUT TRUE! RICH :0)

  • http://www.oceancopy.co.uk Jamie Graham

    Hi Jeff, I just found your blog through a link on Twitter. This is really useful information and something I always try to do when writing copy for my clients.

    Thanks for sharing it and I’ll be reading more of your posts.


  • http://Selloutyoursoul.com James

    Great article as per usual…thanks…the intro is very well written too

  • Anonymous

    Loved this piece – working really hard myself to tell people that Problem Solving is business, its is marketing…… in the game of small bets in consumer goods in Australia – this is the real challenge!!!

  • Red Photo

    Yes, I think so many businesses are busy yelling buy, buy, buy, that they never take the time to figure out how their product or service can solve someone’s problem. If you want repeat customers then you should not go for the one sale, or sell them something that they do not need. Show them how your product or service solves their specific problem. Then you will have a customer for life.

  • http://notagrouch.com Oscar Gonzalez

    Excellent advice. It is timeless and presented in different flavors over generations. A few years ago when content was booming, it was all about content (still is…) but the solid advice is to focus on producing something of value rather than selling dreams. Be it unique content, or a solution to a problem. Great post, thanks for sharing. Found it from @devinelines on twitter.

  • http://twitter.com/barrettrossie barrett rossie

    Jeff, this is so important. Thanks for writing it. “Marketing” has a heavy burden when a business is more concerned than making a sale rather than solving a customer’s problem. 

  • http://www.profkrg.com Prof KRG

    “Stop marketing and start solving problems.” I love this! You’ve really gotten to the heart of the issue here. Do you want to be one of those people behind the dark windows, shuffling papers and making widgets, or do you really want to help people? Love it!

  • Lyn Markey

    Great perspective!
    And during the course of solving a client’s problem (and depending on how well you do it!), you’re continuing to market your reputation for future work and referrals in the the best way.

  • Adrienne

    Sounds like good old fashion Product Management. Understand problems before developing solutions.

  • http://elainefogel.net Elaine Fogel

    And, what about the segment that realizes it has problems but says there is no budget for marketing. These orgs don’t see marketing as an investment in long-term
    solutions. What then?

    • http://www.xerago.com Raghav

      Hi Elaine,
      Agree 100%, Sometimes even if you do have the most genuine solutions for their needs, customers may not have budgets. My take on this: Let Sales budgets be allocated for Marketing since Sales budgets are always almost available. I mean, it has to come from somewhere? 2. Let Marketing not be a “Marketing” problem. It is an organizational problem and the marketers are only the custodians. However, solving Marketing issues brings about a difference to the whole organization, be it customer acquisition, retention or similar programs. So the CEO has to be part CMO, whether he likes it or not.

  • http://hirethoughts.blogspot.com/ Donna Brewington White

    Good reminder, Jeff. Love this.

  • Pat Frayne

    All good points to remember. Thanks

  • http://twitter.com/poida poida

    problem solving is an integral part of good marketing……Steve Jobs understood this…..too many people define marketing in a very narrow way as advertising….including Jeff it seems

  • Raquel M Ramirez

    Awesome Jeff! This is why features such as answering questions on LinkedIn or jumping into a conversation on Twitter about certain problems is key in social media. You gotta be part of the solution so people can see you as a resource and thus, want to hear more of what you gotta say.

  • http://elainefogel.net/ Elaine Fogel

    Just curious, Jeff… do you participate in discussions on your blog?

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      Some I do but not all

      • http://elainefogel.net/ Elaine Fogel

        Is there a philosophy or rationale on this you are willing to share? I suppose one reason is that you get so many comments. Thanks!