Find the pain

theo-paphitisWatching Dragons Den last night, it was clear where the problem lies with many of the business propositions on show – there’s not enough pain. Take the example of the device that automatically dispenses measures of baby formula. Designed by a father who found it difficult (in the middle of the night, half asleep) to measure the traditional way – by hand/spoon – this was, in his view, a ‘winner’.

Theo wasn’t impressed. He’d been there, a supportive dad up at 3am, barely awake. But although he might have occasionally been a spoonful out one way or the other, the kids grew up fine. In other words there wasn’t a big enough problem to solve. Not enough pain.

It’s so important when you’re preparing a product or service for the market to understand what problem it’s solving. Is it felt by enough people? Does it cause real grief? Is it easily resolved by other means? Why should we choose you to solve it rather than anyone else? This is the very reason you generate sales and dictates the marketing message.

We often focus on how we solve things, while losing sight of the problem itself. See an interesting take on this by American marketing guru Seth Godin.

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