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And the Award for Best Solution Type Goes To…

March 07, 2014 | By Rachel Young

Categorizing all of your company’s offerings into solution types will help with internal alignment on what is being brought to market and how it is positioned. The SiriusDecisions Solution Model defines the four b-to-b offering types: Product/service, marketecture, bundle, and integrated solution.

Here in Southern California, where the Hollywood sign serves as a tourist landmark and a symbolic gateway to the entertainment industry, it’s awards season – specifically, Oscars season. Before the ceremony, there was much promotion, speculation and hand-wringing about the best Hollywood players and their roles.  Whether someone is nominated for best actor, best supporting actress, or best director, editor or cinematographer, each category has its own merit, and each is needed to create a successful movie.

The glitz and glamor of the entertainment industry are rarely found in the b-to-b world. But as in the entertainment industry, multiple categories are important, especially in the context of the solution portfolio. The SiriusDecisions Solution Model defines four b-to-b offering types:

  • Product/service – an offering that is a standalone product or service that is not integrated with other products or services
  • Marketecture  – an offering that is a standalone product wrapped in messaging that has been crafted for a specific market or industry
  • Bundle – an offering that combines discrete products or services components, often bound by special pricing or promotional terms
  • Integrated solution – an offering that integrates multiple components such as products, services, processes and intellectual property to deliver value beyond which each individual component could provide on its own

Categorizing all of your company’s offerings into these four types will help with internal alignment on what is being brought to market and how it is positioned.  Because the complexity of the go-to-market process increases from product to marketecture to bundle and to integrated solution, understanding the offering type can aid in determining skill set requirements, resource allocation and performance expectations.

A question we get often from our clients is which offering type is best?  The answer is that it depends on the company’s target market, its capabilities and go-to-market strategy.  Although many b-to-b organizations have many offerings in the product and marketecture categories, it’s not unusual for companies further down the path of shifting from products to solutions to have a healthy and strategic mix of offerings in all four categories.

So, during this Oscar awards season, I hope you had fun rooting for your favorite actors and other Hollywood players in their specific roles.  Back in the office, in your b-to-b “director’s chair,” think about your offerings and strategize about the best role that each could play in the solution spectrum to support your organization’s overall success.

Rachel Young

Rachel Young is a Senior Research Director of Portfolio Marketing at SiriusDecisions. She has more than 20 years of experience in product and solution marketing, demand generation and communications. Follow Rachel on Twitter at @rpyoung_.
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