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Product vs. Solution: The Key Difference

product vs solution

The difference between a product and a solution is the simple difference between what you do and what your customers want to accomplish.

You build products and features. Your customers want to get better at admitting patients, doing legal research, running payroll, designing clothing, taking customer orders, inventorying a warehouse, etc.

If you want to define the difference between product vs solution in the simplest terms, a product describes what you’ve created and its capabilities. A solution is a business outcome that delivers measurable value to your customers.

Here’s the problem. It’s all too easy to get caught in the trap of looking at your target customers through the lens of each product instead of just looking at their business without any product bias. That biased view inhibits your ability to focus on broader activities that are mission critical to their business.

If you focus on improving mission-critical business activities, there’s a good chance that multiple products and or services will be required to quantifiably improve them.

It comes down to this: product vs solution is the difference between groceries and a prepared meal. For most solution providers, your target customers get far more value from the prepared meal than they do a bag of groceries.

Product vs Solution: The Remedy

Here’s the remedy. Before you build products or features or create any positioning, start with the solution — the customer’s definition of what they’re doing, why it’s critical to their business and the obstacles standing in their way. Work backward from there to eliminate the obstacles and the result will be higher-value solutions and a differentiating value story. Both equate to more revenue!

If you want to learn a solutions approach to product management or product marketing, enroll in one of our basic or advanced courses and start delivering, marketing and selling greater strategic value.

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Become a Certified B2B Product Manager in 30 Days

by John Mansour on October 5, 2021.