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A Problem Worth Having

An innovative, new product can be an excellent line for ecommerce.  If you don’t have any competition trying to sell exactly the same thing, you avoid much of the bloodthirsty competition and price battles that can make online retail depressing.

However, there is an important thing to consider when you develop an innovative solution to problem.  It’s the answer to this question:

Does the target audience you seek to sell to know they have the problem your product solves? 

At first this sounds absurd.  Of course they know they have the problem.  And at a base level, that may be true.

But you need them to understand they have this problem in way that manifests some urgency.  They not only need to recognize the problem, but be willing to purchase your product to solve it.

In fact, many businesses who develop an innovative product line have trouble overcoming the status quo.  People are either unaware of how the solution would help them or they’re so used to living with the “problem”, they don’t see it as a problem at all.

It is the job of your marketing to build awareness of your solution and convince people that their lives will improve by using your product.

Start out by building your concept around the lifestyle of your target audience.  You want to expose the problem for what it is, then get people to build the solution into the way they view their own lives.

Develop a storyline that focuses on an individual.  The plot:  how the problem is bringing him down, causing him more trouble than he realizes.  Discovery:  he learns about your product.  He reluctantly decides to use your product, then finds his life immeasurably improved by using it.

Spread your story across your website, social media channels, and native advertising efforts.  The goal:  make people aware of the problem.

Now, begin an advertising campaign that’s more direct-response oriented.  Keep the story theme, but make sure you’re getting your purchase call to action into the content.  Offer deals, create specials for first-time buyers.  Get some sales ringing in on your ecommerce website.

Now, go for amplification and sharing.  You need the people whose problems you are solving to tell their friends about it.  The story spreads through your customers.  Gain enough momentum here and you’ll saturate the market.

At first, people resisted buying automobiles.  They didn’t seem to solve any problem; you could get to where you needed to go by horse or train.  But then the lifestyle story began to spread:  with a car, you had the freedom to go where you wanted, when you wanted.  It spoke of independence, daring, adventure, romance.

Before long, as majority adoption began to gain momentum, not being able to get where you wanted at the speed a car could get you there began to become a problem people had to solve.  The rest is history.

Twenty years ago, most people didn’t need a cell phone, mobile internet connectivity, or text messaging.  It was no problem not to be able to call from anywhere, no problem not to have an information portal in your hands all the time.

Now, when you can’t get a hold of someone right away by phone or text, it’s a problem.  I can’t look up the nearest pizza restaurant or stream my music – that bugs me.  It’s a problem I need solved.

Apple went from being a fruit to a lifestyle brand.

The jump from innovators to majority adoption of your product is made by people understanding they have the problem you solve in the first place.  Your marketing concept creates that awareness, and as more people use your product, the problem actually becomes not having it.

That’s when you can retire a millionaire.