According the Lean Startup approach one of the earlier steps is to find a problem to solve for a certain group (of customers), in other words a customer segment that has a similar problem. It is more detailed described in the article Customer-Problem Fit.

In the area of online-marketing the problem is different for a bookkeeper then for the marketeer. Every bookkeeper knows about investing and amortization. The company invest in a car and you amortize it over x number of years to earn the investment back. By driving the car you need to earn more then not having this car. Quiet logical.


When a bookkeeper would be responsible for the marketing, his challenge (problem) invest a certain amount and calculate how much he would earn on the investment. We call this accountable marketing.

In most companies the marketeer is responsible for the marketing. The marketeer has a certain budget to spend. If the company or product sells well and brings a lot of profit, the budget will be higher next year, if it is the opposite the budget will be lower. It doesn’t matter if the sales in the segment related to the marketing went up because of certain trends or because the marketing efforts.

So if you want to sell online marketing services to the bookkeeper (or maybe the director/owner who takes care about finance and marketing), the problem is that he needs a system where he can assign the marketing efforts as specified as possible to a sold product.

On the other hand selling to the marketeer is different. The marketeer has a certain amount to spend. The most common way is to look for the trends in online marketing and spend it there. For example the trend is to use Social Media for online marketing. So you look for the “best solution or service” in Social Media. The problem of the online marketeer is to invest in “the trends”.

This shows that the problem for the same solution (for example social media service) is completely different. Often “Wanna a solution” is the problem. This may be confusing and often founders of a startup think that they need to create a solution to make the client aware of a problem. In my opinion this is a complete wrong approach. If the problem is “Wanna a solution” it means there is already a solution. You as founder needs to discover first the exact problem from the point of view of the client to provide a better solution (again from the perspective of the client).

First focus of a startup is to find a Customer-Problem Fit.

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