Business Plan, Go-To-Market, Product Marketing, Start-up

What Problems Do You Solve?

What problems do you solve?

Questions to Think about When you Launch your Product or Service


What Problems Do You Solve? More specifically: What problem does your team, company, product, or service solve for your audience? This is a key question investors ask start-ups early on.

Depending on what you bring to the table, the solution you offer can be one of two:

  • A revolutionary solution to a new problem


  • A never-before-thought of solution to an old problem

Whichever category your solution falls into, there are challenges to consider as you get ready to introduce it to your audience.


Is it a solution to a new problem?

Your highest hurdle here is to make your audience understand that there is indeed a problem on the horizon that needs solving. Your focus, in this case, is going to revolve around defining the problem first and then proceeding to offer your revolutionary solution.

A great example of a company that successfully embarked on this mission is Fitbit.

Remember those guys? They are still around and going strong. But until they turned up on our devices and told us that we could motivate ourselves to get fit if we could only count our steps, we didn’t’ even know what we lacked was motivation.

I didn’t know I needed a wearable gadget to tell me that I don’t workout enough. Fitbit had to invest wads of marketing dollars to make me understand that I had a problem.

Their process included linking themselves to plenty of research and articles which informed potential customers that a minimum number of steps taken every day would be the way to fitness gold. Subsequently, Fitbit created a revolutionary trend and owned the fitness market. They did so long enough to create a strong brand among ordinary people who didn’t particularly think they too could get fit by keeping track of their physical activities, daily.

They tapped into an almost universal drive: who hasn’t spent the last week of any year dreaming about how to look and feel better in the New Year. Fitbit quite spectacularly shimmied right in to tell us our goals were within reach. That our New Year’s resolution can indeed come to fruition. They used an emotional topic to tell us that we have a problem; our problem being lack of motivation, and they presented to us this shiny new device that would help us overcome our problem. Genius!


Is it a new solution to an old problem?

Imagine a time before sliced bread. I’m sure no one thought it was necessary to have sliced bread on the shelves UNTIL it was made available. Since then every other invention has only ever been ‘the next best thing.’  But let’s stay with the previous example: Fitbit’s idea of a wearable device that will track one’s steps and offer motivation to do better at keeping fit. This was a solution to a new problem.

Along came Apple and Android and told the now seasoned fitness enthusiasts who know the importance of motivation that they could offer other solutions that help with staying healthy and well.

Fitbit had already expounded on the importance of wearing a gadgetized (Yes, I just made that up!) drill instructor that keeps us active and on the move. Android and Apple improved on the idea by creating an entire ecosystem of native apps that would offer additional connection points to other fitness apps offered by companies such as Nike (NTC), Strava, and the like.

They took it to the next level; told us how to stay healthier by monitoring our bodies. The product they offered could now collate all health-related data generated from an assortment of apps that are linked to a number of wearables. They went ahead and connected this data to all the communication and digital interaction apps that were already on their other mobile devices.

Fitbit offered this customer segment the ability to overview their physical performance based on data collected from many apps. They offered a well-rounded analysis- and this was a new solution to the same old problem indeed.Since we already knew the problem, this time around, Apple and Android easily managed to explain the value of this product evolution.

For those of you to whom staying fit has now become a game of ‘seeming’ to be more active than your friends, here’s a link to beat the system. Jokes aside, you now see the difference between the two types of solutions there are.


What does this mean for you?

When launching your product, or let’s call it the next best thing to sliced bread, make sure to position it suitably. Most importantly, don’t forget to explain why YOU are the one to best solve the problem of your customer. Remember to think from the perspective of your audience. With this in mind, demonstrate how you propose to defuse this problem; whether it is a problem they are aware of or not.

Got a question? Feel free to reach out and ask for a free consulting session.

Did you know that I have a new book coming out? Learn more about it here!


About Maurice

Maurice Hofmann is a serial entrepreneur, marketing and digital marketing specialist, who is known for his innovative drive as well as his ability to lead cross functional teams to achieve the highest level of success. In his 20 year spanning career, he has experienced all aspects of marketing, working in various global roles spreading across TV production, Army ‘Psychological Operations, as an owner of a Brand Experience agency or as a leader of marketing departments for several software companies, start-ups and as a M

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