“If I had an hour to solve a problem
I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”

― Albert Einstein

It sounds very logical and it is very logical. If the problem is very clear it is much easier to solve it. But in the practice the focus is mostly on the solution.

For marketers this counts even more. In my experience I see that marketers (and actually almost everybody) think in solutions. If you watch the history of online marketing, marketeers were talking about solutions. Some examples:

  • We need a website
  • We need AdWords
  • We need SEO
  • We need to do something with Social Media
  • we need a blog
  • We need Content Marketing
  • Shall we start with Native Advertisement?

The approach is not that strange. Competitors do it, so not to stay behind you also need to do it. The main reason is to avoid that your company will be behind on the competitor.

But why not change it (a little bit)?

We can take advantage from the Lean Startup method where customer-problem fit is defined from a position that the product is not existing yet. Now in marketing you have the benefit that the product already exists. If it is good you have clients so you can do one step back and analyze what problem your product solves for your clients. Probably is not exactly the same problem and it is at least watched from a different perspective.

Customer-Problem fit in Lean Startup

For example, you are travel agent. There are many different reasons why a family (which is aalready a segment) buys a holiday trip. Like for example:

  • Father would like to visit certain place (for Ibiza)
  • Mother likes the apartment
  • Children want to play with other children (so there have to be other children)
  • Father wants to relax
  • Mother wants to have an active holiday
  • etc etc

It can lead to the same trip (so exactly the same product), but it solves different problems.

So as a marketer you can try to define various problem customer (segment) hypothesis, like

  • Family that would like to visit Ibiza
  • Family that likes an active holiday
  • Family that looks for activities with children from other countries
  • Family that looks for a relaxing holiday

So different customer segments are defined for the same product. Now it is important to define per customer segment where, sobon which channel you expect to reach the customers and preferably where the customer is in the position to make a next step in the customer journey.

Connected to the hypothesis you need to define the period the experiment takes. You can also decide you need for example a minimum number of clicks. Besides it is important to define the success rate which makes the hypothesis false or true. For example minimal sales per month that the hypothesis is successful.

Based on the experiment you will learn more then you expect.

Good luck!

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