What's the difference between "solution" and "product" tech marketing?


Yes, this is the "people want to buy holes, not drills" thing applied to enterprise software.

Here is the transcript:

When you're looking at software, especially from larger vendors, you'll see a tab up on the top that says "product" or "solution."

This is a marketing construct, but it's valuable to know about. 

Product Marketing

Product, should be a tab that you go to that just shows you, what all the various products are, whether it's a SaaS service or a piece of software that you download.

It should tell you what all the products are, what the product does, what features it has, it might even have a feature comparison matrix between, various versions of that product. But It really should be very descriptive and maybe link to cases of people using it, use cases. You really want to focus on what the product does.

Solution Marketing

Now, a solution tab. It's targeted at people who may not be using the product, but are decision makers about if they're going to even care about this product for the organization, if they're going to budget for it, if they're going to spend time, having people go off and look at it and integrate it into their strategy: business managers, people who are in charge of running the business as a whole - people who are in charge of writing the checks.

In a solution tab, instead of starting from the product you're starting from, what the product does, the problem that it solves. And you're really not even talking about how the product does this, but you're describing what the problem that it solves is and what people should know about that problem and how solving that problem helps their business.

And then you say, oh, and by the way, our product helps you solve this. If you use our product or even several of our products together, it will give you a good way of solving this problem. 

An example

So what would be an example of a problem? The simplest type of problem might be what they call omni-channel retail, which means being able to sell through multiple channels, which basically means you can sell in store, you can have curbside pickup, you could ship things. And there's also the whole returns process. So you might in your solutions tab, say we have a solution for omni-channel retailing.

Now that's going to really kill your web layout, so you'd probably just say "retail." And then when you went into that solution tab, you would talk about what omni-channel retailing is. And what's important here is to explain it in a way that makes it prove that you know what it is, what the worries are, and that also you have a track record, you have customers who actually have worked with you to solve that problem and improve their business. And then at the bottom can link to what the actual products are, how products fit together to solve that problem. 

With solution marketing often, what you're doing is you're trying to engage with someone and have an ongoing discussion with them to talk about how you can go and solve their problem.

Good luck out there!,, @cote