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Why Solutions Don’t Work

Depositphotos 39853257 m 2015 768x416

Solutions – a dilute form of a substance; insipid, weak.

Solutions – over-used, lazy marketing jargon masking as customer focus.

Worse, it is now being used in business names or marketing phrases; as if that somehow conveys that the business understands the client’s challenges or problems and can fix them. Before they have even spoken with the client.

– Targeted Business Solutions

– Experienced Business Solutions

– Complete Business Solution – the missing piece you have been looking for

What do any of those business names mean – apart from bland, patronising statements?

It is a symptom of a deeper malaise in a lot of business marketing and communication: the lack of dialogue.

A dialogue is two-way and involves understanding the client’s world: their language, their challenges, their problems and their aspirations.

And only then offering possible alternatives as to how their problem can be fixed.

Solutions imply we know what you need. Before we have even understood you or your problems.

Problems Get People’s Attention

Take some time to watch people walking down a busy street. It is remarkable how many potential accidents they avoid. In a distracted space of smartphones, elsewhere thoughts or conversations, they miss the dog poo on the pavement, swerve around lamp posts and street signs and dodge on-coming pedestrians.

An everyday occurrence – yet our brains are so hard-wired to detect and avoid problems that we automatically do it, all the time. Even when we are unaware of it.

In a world of generic service offerings it is clearly defined problems that get people’s attention.Solutions are bland wallpaper.

Real life problems are what potential customers experience in their world. If you as a potential service provider have bothered to understand and describe it, there is every chance they will pay attention.

And get the heart racing

There is another biological reason why problems are so much more effective. Our bodies are hard-wired to respond to problems in a more immediate way. Our very survival used to depend on it.

The oldest part of our brain, the limbic system, through which all information going into our brain passes, is dominated by the 4 Fs:

– Fight

– Flight

– Food

– Fornication

These are the primary biological responses that have played a crucial role in the survival of the human species through the millennia.

It’s why potential pain (problem) signals dominate our attention.

It’s why the media focus on negative news: two people attacked last night in Newcastle CBD will get headlines, rather than 13,500 people went out and had a good time.

It’s why most people are much more motivated by a fear of loss than of potential gain.

Problems get our attention and our pulses racing – literally.

Too many businesses believe that their clients already know their problems. But they are busy, juggling many roles, many potential challenges and issues and are swamped by bland solutions and offerings.

Problems get attention and interest. They are the first pivotal steps in any effective marketing communications.

I am always happy to discuss this or any other marketing issues you may have. Simply give me a call on 0459 320 999 or email

Posted on 25 Aug 2016


  • Charles Gromek
    4 years ago

    Great article Alex. I like the way you convey a meaningful & relevant message with a degree of humour

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