What is Solutions Marketing?

Solutions marketing is the art of creating and delivering special business services that solve customers’ problems. This is possible through developing and supporting marketing solutions that combine traditional capabilities with innovative thinking, creativity and answers.

Marketing Solutions

Marketing programs that focus on solutions prioritize business problems over processes. This type of marketing offers a comprehensive offering, which means that it includes all the necessary elements to resolve issues. These may be products, services, training and advertisements. These solutions must be tried and tested in order to guarantee long-term success and provide the highest levels of customer service. A customer’s problem is defined by individual organizations and markets, so the marketing solutions team must fully understand the company’s priorities, how the company is organized, how the products are made and why the company needs marketing help. The solutions to customer problems begin with a comprehensive analysis of why customers buy the products, what is their intended use and what are the available alternatives. Defining a customer’s problem is actually quite challenging because consumers buy products for very different purposes. For example, one consumer may purchase a home improvement tool for simple repairs, but a contractor may purchase the same item to build houses.

Related resource: Top 10 Best Online Masters in Marketing Degree Programs 2014

Solution-based Benefits

The marketing solutions team must collect quality market data and analysis to identify the ideal consumer whose personal needs match the company’s products. The competitive intelligence gathered must be highly sophisticated because selective consumers are complex. Product marketers focus on tangible items that are usually intended for large demographics. Solutions marketers create distinct deliverables that combine products and services together in order to provide customized value. Solutions marketers create their content and messages from the outside-in perspective. That is, advertising must be from a typical customer’s point of view and clearly position the company to be the best one qualified to solve the specific problem. Product marketing operates in multiple markets with varying demographics, but solutions marketers focus on value pricing that reflects the rewards of solving a specific problem. Solutions-based proper pricing is calculated by understanding the nature of the problem and then quantifying the value delivered. For example, the price of a marketing solution for an accounting company may incorporate the potential costs of late or rejected tax claims.

Special Challenges

Most solutions marketers wish they could simply create a competitive customer quote, offer a few incentives and promise some product training to close sales. In the world of marketing solutions, solutions marketers must first produce collateral that can be dynamically modified to fit specific situations and settings to prove that they can solve a customer’s problem better than anyone else. Solutions marketers must also create a wide range of business tools that can easily customized by sales staff to solve unique customer problem. They must train sales personnel through role playing, case studies or interactive discussions in order to provide an opportunities to practice consultative coaching and solutions-based selling. Service solutions for corporations may be highly complex and intangible, so it’s hard to connect with customers in the real world. Unlike manufactured products, it’s difficult to present a solution by describing its components and demonstrating its functions.

Anyone interested in a cutting-edge solutions marketing career will still need a traditional bachelor’s degree in marketing. The Department of Labor offers additional career advice and direction for entry-level marketing professionals here.