Are you a part of the solution or a part of the problem?

This past week a colleague and I were pitching a potential new client who completely caught us off guard.  When we arrived at their office they told us that the interview would be held at their boardroom table. Interview?!?! What do you mean interview??? Six people proceeded to join us at the table and asked us a series of questions.

Now I have experienced panel interviews, most recently as a few years ago when I was headhunted to be CMO at Laura Secord. I spent three hours one day being grilled by five Board members about my qualifications and what I would do as CMO. I guess I did okay because they offered me the job – but I digress.

One of the questions they asked was what sort of websites we liked and/or frequented. An unusual but great question – and it really made me think on my feet and later that day. I never really realised it, but I spend a lot of time reading blogs. You know, the kind that actually teach you something or provoke your mind to take another point of view. After all, isn’t the internet supposed to solve your problems?

I’m a personal fan of Scott Kelby (photography – www.scottkelby.com) and Seth Godin (marketing – sethgodin.typepad.com), and read them every morning. Why? Well Scott helps me solve my photography problems and Seth makes me think differently. That’s pretty simple and straight forward, but it’s the truth.

Seth recently wrote an entry where he asked if marketers are creating solutions or fixing problems. He believes that this disconnect is caused because people focus on the solution instead of the problem you were given to solve. I couldn’t agree more.

We spend our week working with clients to better understand and uncover their problems. Surprisingly, many clients aren’t really sure what their problems are but believe they know what the solution is. I believe that the more clarity you can get about what a successful solution looks like (i.e. What’s the actual problem to solve), the more likely you will be to have a delighted customer when you’re done.

A former colleague from my Bata days used to ask, “Are you a part of the solution or a part of the problem”. I used to think I knew the answer to that question, but now I’m not so sure.

What do you think?


  1. special Says:

    I think you are a part of the problem when you oblige it.

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