This year marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of iTunes, just one of Apple’s streak of big-win product launches. Across the globe, we’ve collectively downloaded more than 10 billion tracks, and pushed sales of physical music CDs to the brink of extinction.

The lesson for marketers?

Apple’s success is not solely about innovation or technology. It’s about listening—listening for the frustrations and unmet needs in the market place, then going where the problems are, with a solution so simple and elegant cost doesn’t even enter into the equation during the buying process. It’s every marketer and CEO’s dream.

Remember the days when the music collection took up rows and rows of shelf space? When it was impossible to buy the latest Lady GaGa single in your pajamas at 2 a.m.? And forget taking your all your favorite albums with you on a trip. The iTunes revolution resolved the problems I didn’t even realize I had—and made it impossible for me not to buy.

When the product positioning is right, the rest of marketing and sales flow smoothly. And when it’s not? Well, we’ve all struggled to build demand with a product full of features that few customers seem to need or want.

Sharpen your listening skills

Use these three questions to test your market savvy and give even complicated, technical B2B solutions the iTunes treatment:

  • Can everyone in your organization name the primary problem your product solves?
  • Is it a pain point that your target audience recognizes—and one they’re willing to pay to resolve?
  • Is there a “wow-factor” in the solution that’s sure to capture the attention of media and potential buyers?

If you can’t give a resounding “yes,” be prepared for a longer sales cycle and more expensive marketing support. To make sure new solutions hit the mark, give priority to visiting customers and prospects and truly understanding their workflows, issues, pet peeves and needs.

Nothing provides a better springboard for marketing success than strong positioning and straightforward messaging.