Identifying marketing problems is an important step in any marketing research or marketing strategy project.
To get started, convene a group and let them know you'll be working together to identify and define problems that exist for your business.
It's best not to tell them you are looking for marketing problems per se. Just talk generally about business problems.
It's a good idea to provide a list of example business problems that will help jumpstart the group's thinking. A list of business problems might include things like the items below:
- Lack of competence in launching new products or services.
- Low awareness of your company and its products or services.
- Low utilization of your company's products or services. (The market is familiar with your company, but still is not doing business with you.)
- A poor company image and reputation.
- Problems with distribution (Your goods and services are not reaching the buying public in a timely manner.)
- Messaging that isn't resonating with the market
Once the group has created its long list of business problems, have them prioritize the list of problems and focus in on the top ten business challenges for the company. Shortening the list to the top ten is not easy, but it's an important part of this exercise.
Just having this list of the top problems for your business is extremely valuable for defining marketing strategies and plans. We'll explain how in a bit. But let's first wrap up your team's exercise.
With the short list in hand, have the group focus in on how marketing could be used to solve the business problems on your list.
Is marketing as it currently functions contributing to solving the business challenges?
The gap between what marketing needs to do to help and what it is currently doing defines your top marketing problems. Spend time on solving those marketing problems and, if necessary, do additional market research that is laser-focused on these gaps.
Is somebody else solving the marketing problem better than you? Can you learn something from other industries? Do your prospects and customers agree that you're not doing a good job in this problem area?
This simple exercise got you to your list of marketing problems, but the list of business problems is something you should keep top of mind whenever you are making a marketing decision.
Is what I'm about to invest in as a marketing initiative going to help the company with what we've all agreed are our top ten business problems?
If not, there's no sense in wasting time and money on it.
People often jump to solutions without spending much time talking about problems.
By taking the time to define your marketing problems and your business problems, your business will improve at a much faster rate than those who just blindly put together marketing programs without first assessing their marketing problems.