Explaining value is one of the more fundamental things a marketer can do, but businesses have to do more to reclaim the art of explaining value or risk losing customers, writes author James Lawrence.
It’s important to acknowledge that prospects don’t buy your product or service because they want to do you a favour. Rather, they choose your product because it provides them with more perceived value than other alternatives available to them at the time.
We see marketers get it wrong when they use words like “fair” or “reasonable” to describe their business offering. What matters is that the price is justified by the prospects’ perception of the product or service’s value.
To get a grasp on value, you first need to get a clearer perspective on how your customers perceive it and align your messages to better reflect the value that your brand offers and show buyers you understand them.
In that way, you can craft your messages creatively to transport your prospect emotionally from A to B.
How your customers perceive value
The simplest way to understand value, as perceived by your prospects, is to understand the gap between your prospects’ current state and their future state, being where they will get to after using your product or service.
The degree to which their current and future states differ is the value your product offers them.
It stands to reason your pricing can be formulated based on how well you make this gap clear and significant in their mind. Of course, you will also need to consider existing competitor offerings and how those will influence a prospect’s decision-making.
Value will not be perceived the same way by all customers. Instead, link specific personas with specific perceptions of value, ultimately creating far more effective campaigns and thereby allowing your business to charge a price premium or convert prospects to customers at a faster rate.
How to align your messaging to the value you create
Once you understand what your buyers value, you can craft messaging to show them you understand them.
For example, if you were marketing a hotel to corporate guests, you wouldn’t focus on the family-friendly features of your hotel. You might focus instead on how conveniently located you are to nearby conference facilities, and how your corporate rooms offer fibre internet, ergonomic work stations and complimentary business channels on TV.
With the right messaging, you set yourself up to charge more. In this example, the hotel could charge more per night to business travellers, having clearly communicated its value better than the hotel down the road, which outwardly shows no sign of understanding the needs of the corporate traveller, despite having similar features.
Don’t get too close to your offering: Think like your customer
It’s important to mention here that you should not obsess over the attributes of your product or service you find most valuable. Instead, focus on the attributes your prospective customer finds to be most valuable.
In that way, you won’t miss the most obvious opportunities when describing your products or services.
It helps to regularly examine and question your messaging. Never assume your prospects know you can give them something of tremendous value.
Dig deep into your ideal customer segments and ask how your prospects would think.
How to move prospects from A to B
In your messaging, look for ways to connect emotionally and show how you can move a customer to their likely “future state” should they engage your product or service.
As you build out your messaging based on value as perceived by your prospect, think about the actual language you are using.
If you focus only on product features, you are asking your customers to do the extra work and imagine the benefits those features might bring them in the real world. Often, your prospects won’t be willing or able to perform this extra mental step. They may not even understand the value such features could bring.
Take this experience we had with one of the largest waste management firms in Australia.
Before working with us, their messaging relating to office waste disposal focused heavily on the world-class hydraulic lifters they used on their trucks.
Given their target personas were office managers, we tweaked the messaging to instead focus on the way our client made life easy.
This persona placed value in a waste management company that picked up rubbish on time, every time, being the benefit. Customers didn’t care about hydraulics and technical certifications being the feature.
Never forget: it’s about them, not you. There is nothing wrong with being proud of your product or service, but in your messaging, you must focus on the value a prospective client stands to gain by using it.
James Lawrence is the author of Smarter Marketer and co-founder of marketing agency Rocket.