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December 26, 2012

Solve a problem to grow your business.

A “strategy” is a broad statement that helps to define the direction of your firm’s marketing & sales efforts.  Setting strategy is the most difficult of the phases in developing a marketing & sales plan (because it requires real thinking) and also the most important (because if you go off in the wrong direction, you cannot be successful).

One of the best ways to develop a strategy for your firm is to be the first to solve a problem… whether it’s within your firm, one that is plaguing your clients or within the industries you serve.  Here’s a brief case study from my past that might help explain how this works…

I used to be President of a firm that was one of the first in the research industry to have developed an online qualitative platform.  The problem was that researchers were slow to adopt the technology.  And not just with us, but with the other platform providers, too.

Our first thought was that researchers were simply ‘afraid’ of the technology.  But we were wrong.  We conducted some industry research and here’s what we found… researchers weren’t afraid of the technology (they used technology every day).   Instead, they simply didn’t understand how the technology worked and, as importantly, how it compared to traditional qualitative research.

There it was… the problem was defined for us.  How did we solve it?  The solution… education!

We decided that one of our key strategies would be to help researchers get comfortable with online qual – not by “selling” it – but by “educating” them on the benefits & applications of the technology and the pluses & minuses vs. traditional methodologies.  From that point forward, we embarked on a continuous educational program comprised of [and here are the tactics] on-going webinars (several offered every month) and the regular publishing of useful and usable content – articles, case studies, white papers, blog posts, etc. – that all related to online qualitative research.

The result?  The education worked better than we could have expected… researchers went from “I don’t understand” to “I get it now,” and the business exploded.  And to this day, that firm is a worldwide leader in online qualitative platforms… and continues to educate their clients and prospects with webinars and good content.

So, what problems do you face in your business… with your clients… and in the industries you serve?  Define them and solve them… and you’ll create a competitive advantage that could help your business to explode, too.

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