Solutions to your problems are everywhere. Just look at all the products, services and companies that proudly proclaim their status as solutions.

Software applications are, of course, no longer software. They are solutions. Corporate entities are solutions (Microsoft Business Solutions), and at least 12 of this year’s VAR 100 reselling firms, published in the April issue of Accounting Technology, have the word "solutions" in the organization’s name.

Frozen foods in a local supermarket are breakfast solutions. One of our sister publications has announced a contest in which it is handing out Innovative Solutions Awards.

Overuse of phrases goes in cycles, but this one seems to be as hard to kill as kudzu, and has spread as wildly. At one point, there may have been some benefit to proclaiming that your company doesn’t just offer a product, it solves problems. However, it’s hard to see how many prospects and customers are going to buy this premise, given how saturated the market has become with this word.

I once wrote an item in the newsletter “Consulting Insights” in which I jokingly created the “Solution Store,” which offered solutions to everyone’s solution needs. I have this recurring nightmare that somewhere, such a place actually exists.

From a practical viewpoint, it’s the ability to avoid this kind of carbon-copy approach to marketing that makes companies that are truly good at marketing stand out from the rest of the me-too crowd. If you are doing what everyone else is doing, it’s time to shift gears.

The next battle ground is over the phrase “thought leaders,” which seems to have benefited from over-fertilization by marketers and public relations people.

Thought leaders? Interesting concept.

I’m not sure which it suggests more -- that business leaders previously weren’t thinking or weren’t leading. But thought leaders have really been around for years, probably through much of history.

There have been all kinds of people I thought were leaders.

They weren’t.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access