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Positioning: Prospect Problems

What are the top three problems the product solves?
This question is the second of several questions I've enumerated that a product manager should answer to most effectively position a product.

Identify the problems the product solves by asking, from a user or buyer perspective, "Why would I use or buy this product?" But don't stop there. Relentlessly follow up with, "Why does that matter?" until you end with satisfaction of basic needs.

Take Promised Land Strawberry Milk, for instance:

Q. Why would anyone buy it?
A. Because it comes from cows that aren't treated with artificial hormones.
Q. Why does that matter?
A. Because other milk comes from cows treated with artificial hormones might contain unhealthy ingredients.
Q. Why does that matter?
A. Because I fear those other milks will damage my long-term health if I drink them.
Q. Why does that matter?
A. Because I care a lot about my long-term health and feel stressed when I think I am jeopardizing it.
Thus anxiety due to a concern about the drinker's health is one of the the problems that Promised Land Strawberry Milk solves. Note that artificial hormones are not themselves the problem; they merely cause the problem.

Once you've identified the top problems, you may end up positioning your product as the antidote to one or more of them. As the folks at Pragmatic Marketing teach, target problems that are:
  • Urgent
  • Pervasive
  • Customers are willing to pay to solve.
If your product doesn't solve or help a customer avoid problems, ditch it. There's no point in marketing such a product.

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