HomeBlog The Difference Between Product Marketing and Solution Marketing

The Difference Between Product Marketing and Solution Marketing

August 06, 2010 | By Marisa Kopec

SiriusDecisions estimates 55 percent of B2B enterprises go-to-market primarily leveraging their solution marketing function, either through a horizontal solution or industry vertical orientation.

SiriusDecisions estimates 55 percent of B2B enterprises go-to-market primarily leveraging their solution marketing function, either through a horizontal solution or industry vertical orientation. As enterprises shift their focus from product to solution, the need for highly qualified solution marketing talent is on every CMO’s agenda. SiriusDecisions recommends that you think of a solution marketer as the “subject matter expert for a defined customer segment” and put the right people in the jobs. The primary objectives of solution marketing are:

  • Contribute to new solution innovation
  • Increase the productivity of sales
  • Drive successful solutions marketing programs
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    Although the role of solution marketing and product marketing are fairly similar there are three essential differences in the role and required skill set.

    1. Solution marketing requires greater cross-functional leadership to bring a solution to market. Solutions are enterprise-wide initiatives that require a high degree of organizational calibration and collaboration across multiple teams. The biggest difference between solution marketing and product marketing is that the solution marketing role is typically an overlay function that needs to work cross-functionality across business units to bring a solution to market.
    2. Developing solution messaging and positioning is more complex than for a point product or service. Solutions require more sophisticated messaging and positioning and deeper subject matter expertise because they need to describe the value in terms of how a customer can leverage their company’s strengths to solve a business problem. Product level messaging is focused more on the features of functionality while solution level messaging has to describe the customer segment or industry landscape such as the business processes, industry trends, key issues and personas.
    3. Solution marketing demands broader and deeper domain expertise. While the product marketing leader is a product expert and has intimate knowledge of the point product’s capabilities, the solution marketing professional needs to have broader domain expertise around a larger set of knowledge including more products and services to know, a deep understanding of the solution market, as well as staying current on key industry trends and hot topics.
    4.  

      Solution marketing functions that don’t collaboratively drive solution innovation and have exceptional domain expertise will be seen as a low-value overlay function. If the solution marketers are spread to thin, they will not be able to maintain the depth of knowledge or stay current on industry or customer trends. Fund and resource the solutions marketing function to ensure its success so that it’s not only a lever of change for the organization but also raises the visibility of marketing’s overall contribution to the enterprise’s financial growth.   

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      Marisa Kopec

      Marisa Kopec is Vice President of Innovation and Product Management at SiriusDecisions. She is member of SiriusDecisions' Executive Leadership Team and also serves as a Research Fellow. Follow Marisa on Twitter @Marisa_Kopec.

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