Sometimes, the Best Solution May Simply be to Sell a Product

Adventive Marketing

Solutions selling.  Bundling products and services to bring greater value to the customer and capture a larger piece of the total pie.  It seems to be the goal of every sales organization on the planet.  It drives the product development efforts of many companies, and the merger & acquisition activity of others.  And yet, I wonder if sometimes we aren’t losing the forest for the trees.  Do we become so intent on selling the big solution that we lose sight of the fact that customer might just need a product?

One of our clients once said;

“Marketing solutions is important, but at the end of the day, our sales reps are selling products.”  

Bill Miller
Director of Marketing at a Global Supplier of Signal Transmission Products

Let’s face it, Solutions is an overused word in marketing.  In fact, a discussion among members of the LinkedIn BtoB Marketing Group would suggest it is one of the leading buzzwords that must die in 2011.  Perhaps that’s taking it too far, but we have seen cases of marketers touting their solutions without actually being able to define them. 

While developing strategic solution sets is important, particularly to long-term growth and stability, we would urge B2B marketers to spend as much time promoting their new and existing products as they do pushing their solution.  A fully-integrated new product launch will likely generate more tangible lead activity and short-term revenue than even the most well-conceived solution sell. 

But there is a lot more to a successful product launch than a standard-issue press release and a spot in next month’s distributor newsletter.  To do it well and create the buzz you are looking for in the market, you should be considering as many of the following items as possible:

  • Product Differentiation and Messaging

  • New Product Launch Kits

  • Offer Strategies and Content Development

  • Media Outreach Programs

  • Print & Online Advertising

  • Trade Show Support

  • Social Media

  • Direct Marketing & E-mail Campaigns

Naturally, there are different strategies (and quite a bit of work) involved in each of these and not all marketers have the internal resources to tackle all of this.  If this is true for you, evaluate the resources you do have and use outside resources where needed.  For example, perhaps your team can assemble the technical information and documentation your customers need to evaluate your products and their supporting technologies, but you have difficulty presenting it in a cohesive, professional manner.  Consult with your design firm or marcomm agency to determine the best means of communicating the information to your customers, sales team and channel partners. They can help you craft your message and spin the materials in a variety of ways.

Efficiency is the key when resources are limited.  Materials need to be sliced, diced and re-purposed to support the appropriate tactics for your new product launch – and not only at the time of the launch, but also farther down the line when attention is diverted and product marketing support often fades.

So, what are the biggest challenges you face when launching and promoting a new product?  Short deadlines? Limited budget and resources? Deciding how to allocate the budget you do have? Launching the product in a highly competitive environment? Product differentiation and messaging? Sustaining the effort over time? All of the above?

Let us know.  We’d love to hear your comments.

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