Tech companies still find it difficult to design, market and deliver actual solutions to their customers' business problems. Though execs talk internally about solving customer problems, they often come at it from the wrong angle—i.e., a technology-centered mindset. In his recent issue of Under the Buzz, Philip Lay of TCG Advisors describes how an industry-centered marketing focus can free companies from their product-centered "presentation" mindset and help them focus more on the customer's needs.

"Redefine the company's driving purpose or 'cause' in terms of the types of customer problems that it helps to solve rather than in terms of the products or services it develops," writes Lay. "There is a hugely significant distinction between these two touchstones, and companies that do the former have a better chance of succeeding than companies that retain a product mindset."

Many small (tier 2) application and infrastructure companies can be successful focusing on just one or two verticals, writes Lay. By doing so, they're able to dive deep into an industry; build a permanent, value-driven reason for being there; and deliver that value more effectively.

Regarding larger (tier 1) players, Lay cites analyst Andrew Bartels at Forrester Research. Bartels says business processes are remarkably similar across diverse industries (think purchasing, manufacturing, sales, accounting, HR and IT) but balance-sheet issues are not. Effective solution-focused marketing is about highlighting those balance-sheet issues that drive business within each of their top target industries.

The Po!nt: By committing to industry-specific marketing, tech companies can build value propositions more naturally around customer problems, dive deeper into verticals and deliver on the promise of solving their customers' problems.

Source: Under the Buzz. Read the full issue here (PDF).

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