The problem: too much product talk
Recognise this: all this talk around product features, new technologies and the latest developments. Skipping important questions and just jumping to the latest news you want to share with your potential customers.
Confusion and misalignment often is the result and almost always market potential is missed. The context of people having problems or challenges simply is formed by the challenge at hand.
The solution: C-P-S-P approach
A very powerful, yet simple way to structure propositions in line with customer expectations is to streamline it using four categories:
- …leads to Problems…
- …that can be solved with Solutions…
- …which consist of Products.
Change: From a customer’s point of view, what exactly is changing in his or her environment, market, or organization? Typically, this is about factors over which the customer has no direct influence and with which he or she must deal. Also, visionary ambitions can be listed here. Example: Introduce regulations for companies to become carbon dioxide neutral.
Problems: Change leads to a mismatch between the desired and current situation. This mismatch emerges either from the desired change (e.g. new company direction) or from external influences (e.g. market circumstances). Key here is the fact that the problems impact the daily decisions and actions of the customer. Example: Determine how to ensure that our logistic operations meet the new regulations by reducing emissions by 20%.
Solutions: Problems can be solved with solutions. A solution in this context consists of an integrated set of products, activities, and/or methods that result in an acceptable resolution of the problem/challenge. Example: Use low-emission vehicles and electric on- and off-loading.
Products: Products are the things or activities you are offering to your customer. Example: The new hybrid super truck has a low-emission engine and brake-energy regeneration.
By distinguishing between these four categories, you become aware of the context of your customer, understand the problems he or she is facing, and clearly see what your organisation offers. In our experience, the C-P-S-P approach is a good tool for stimulating outside-in thinking and for getting away from discussions that are too product focused.
Want to learn more?
In our book, Cut the Bullsh*t Marketing, this is one of the instruments we share that help you perform (or organize) more effective marketing for your company. A clear set of cases, instruments and theory is bundled in this ‘ultimate guide’ for marketeers.