Does the word ‘solutions’ put up barriers?

I’ve always disliked the use of the word ‘solutions’ in marketing. Not just because it’s used by companies who think they’re too grand to sell products, but because I think it has the opposite effect to that which is intended. It’s supposed to be helpful, but it can put up barriers, not take them down.

By saying: “We provide solutions”, the intention is presumably to say to prospects: “We can supply a fully working system”. And that’s great. However, the message I get from being offered a ‘solution’ is that apparently, I have a problem. And who are you to tell me that?

I’d bet that many (or most, or all) of your customers don’t need a ‘solution’ – because they don’t consider themselves to have a problem. It doesn’t matter if they just need to buy a single blue widget or want someone to build them a complete factory; they just need a supplier. They’re quite in control.

Discussion

  1. Matt

    This problem is endemic and can lead to some very interesting (if very sad) situations…

    A few years ago I was working with an analytical chemistry company that sold instruments and reagents when a new lady started assisting the the public relations outreach for a specific trade show.

    At the show, the company was going to introduce a series of new solutions (i.e. a solute dissolved in a liquid – a bona fide solution). These solutions overcame a very niche, but very important measurement challenge.

    Despite the target audience for the product being chemists and laboratory workers, she insisted that the word solution was confusing despite it being the absolutely (and only) correct way of discussing the new products in question!

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