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2 Kinds Of Problems You Need To Solve In 2019

customer problems

Few of us like to admit to having problems, but we all have them.

And if you founded or work at a health tech company, you have likely have pinpointed some problems in healthcare that you are building a solution for.

You look at the complex healthcare marketplace, and you come up with an innovative solution to help all the humans that make up healthcare…the doctors and nurses and caregivers and patients.

However, if you’re like many health tech companies I work with, you struggle to articulate the problem you are solving in a way that shows potential customers why you should be the one to solve it for them.

When you don’t clearly communicate just how important it is to solve the problem, not only are you going to struggle to find paying customers, you’re not going to be able to help the people you set out to help in the first place. Healthcare will be no better off.

And that’s frustrating because as a stakeholder in healthcare (we all are, aren’t we?), I and all the other humans of healthcare need better options. We need change…and when health tech companies can’t articulate their value, when they struggle to sell, change doesn’t happen.

The fix

It’s easy for digital companies to get caught up in their features and functions and to forget that there are actually two problems you are solving.

There’s always the external problem that’s easy to see – a health system needs more engaged patients to lower hospital readmissions and costs, for instance. So you build them a mobile messaging platform that helps staff keep patients engaged.

The harder problem to see and articulate is the internal problem, or in other words, the mental, relational, or emotional cost that the external problem creates.

The problems you can see

External problems are the ones that are most readily apparent. Your customer knows they have these problems, your competitor is trying to solve these same problems, and these problems are the ones with seemingly the most direct effect on ROI.

Often, these are the problems companies talk about in their marketing, as well because, well, they are the easiest to talk about.

Here’s an example:

The problem: A hospital system’s electronic medical record management is bulky and inefficient.

What the customer wants from this: A solution that streamlines the process because they know it’s causing productivity problems which hurts the bottom line.

The typical marketing message: “We can speed up your electronic medical record processes and cut costs by 25%.”

Solving external problems alone is well and good. You still help people when that’s what you focus on. However, this type of marketing tends to eventually fall into the feature and function trap which often turns into a race-to-the-bottom when it comes to price.

These are the problems that the people responsible for the bottom line want to solve – they’re the problems that can be backed up by data and that show up as red or black in the books.

However, motivating your customers to buy from you to solve this problem can be difficult because everyone is competing for these problems, and there’s another startup out there that can do it for less money than you can.

The problems you can’t see.

Instead, develop your marketing around both the external problems AND the internal problems.

Some examples of internal problems:

  • Fear. This is what a patient experiences when they’ve just had a difficult diagnosis or what the CMO experiences when they think of heading to the board meeting without the results they promised.

  • Stress. The external problem, especially when there is no solution in sight…or the solution is too difficult to implement…adds to your customer’s stress load – which can cause or add to a myriad of health problems, emotional problems, and relationship problems.

Internal problems go deeper than the problems you can see, and they affect your customers in ways you may never know.

However, sometimes these problems are considered “soft” and solving them isn’t a high priority because they don’t tie directly to the bottom line. So your job as a marketer is to connect these problems to the ROI of solving the external problems.

This is going to be an ongoing journey, but when you make your customer the hero of your marketing story, (and great literature tells us that every hero’s worst enemy is often internal) you’ll be much better set to guide them to successfully resolving both their internal and external conflict.

Don’t wait. Healthcare needs innovative health tech companies

2019 is the year you need to fix your marketing. Because if health tech doesn’t solve both of these kinds of problems for healthcare providers and for patients, who will?

2019 marketing success

I put together this checklist to help you do just that. It’s a brief overview of how to make your customer your hero, how to solve their problems, and how to provide them with ongoing value all year long.

Sound like something you need?

Once you’ve gotten your checklist, take some time thinking about your customers as the heroes, both the internal and external conflict they face, and how you can help them solve it.

With this approach, your marketing will become less about making a sale and more about guiding the people who need you most to your door so you can help them be successful.

If the 2019 Marketing Success Checklist helped turn around your marketing for 2019, please comment or send me an email whitney@themissionmaven.com. I’d love to hear your story!

customer avatar

Are your marketing strategies failing?

Heal your health tech company’s marketing with this customer avatar and brand messaging guide.



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Whitney is a consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help life-saving, life-changing technology break through the noise and achieve mass user adoption. Learn more about her here.




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Whitney is a consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help life-saving, life-changing technology break through the noise and achieve mass user adoption. Learn more about her here.