How many times have you heard the word “solution” during your career? For me, I’d conservatively estimate about a billion.
A colleague shared an anecdote of attending a tech event recently in Washington, D.C. and being greeted by three different people who introduced their company as offering “solutions.” Technically, every company offers a solution. The problem is the word “solution” no longer has any meaning.
I don’t think I’m covering any new ground here, or at least I shouldn’t be. You can drive through Bethesda in Maryland, Reston in Virginia, or Santa Clara in California, and pass a dozen company signs with “solutions” in the name.
Type “tech solution” into Google and see what comes up. Company after company, listing after listing, with “tech solution” in the name or description. It’s kind of mind-boggling to realize how widespread the use is.
So why am I telling you this? Because if you want your company to stand out, focusing on your solution will not work. Instead, do the following:
1. Message The Problem
Too many tech companies skip through the “problem” phase of messaging to jump right into solutions. Nowhere is this more prominent than with emerging technologies, such as AI or blockchain. Emerging technology companies love to talk about their solutions and their potential, without taking time to explain why the heck anyone needs this emerging technology in the first place.
I most commonly see this mistake at live events, when presenters and exhibitors jump directly into how cool or how amazing their solution is, before identifying the root cause of problems that necessitate this technology. If you don’t explain why people need your solution, then your solution is not going to be needed.
2. Message Your Results
Far too much of tech marketing, including messaging and media coverage, is focused solely on the solution. How many times have you read a slick sheet that runs through a long list of details about a tech solution? Does that really move the needle for you?
Instead, aim your focus on the results that come from your solution. Are you saving time for a customer? Are you saving money? Are you increasing productivity? That should be your focus. Forget the particulars of your solution and focus on the benefits.
3. Message Around the Word
You don’t have to use the word solution in every piece of collateral. It’s a safe word that comforts executives, because they assume the word everyone uses will make it easier to sell. However, that word is only lumping you together with a thousand other companies selling very similar solutions.
For a fun exercise, ask people internally to come up with other words for “solution” and see what they come up with. Whether we want to admit it or not, most of us are sick of hearing the word “solution” because we’ve heard it for years.
Ask developers what they think. Ask the sales team what they think. Ask leadership what they think. I bet you’ll find a much better word to focus on, and that word will enable you to differentiate from the rest.