Times are challenging – there’s no surprise in that news. And the messaging everywhere is about ‘value’.
Adverts for products and services claiming to be ‘better value’ compared either to a former version of themselves, or their competition.
When trying to increase value for customers, what exactly constitutes value in the first place…is it the same for less, more for the same, or more for more? Is a smaller pack of biscuits at the same price better value?
Well, your customers know.
Providing value to your customers is of huge importance when they are overwhelmed with choice and bombarded by offers and ads.
This is especially true when every customer has the option to just leave their wallet closed and hang onto their cash. Kicking the buying choice down the road until they are more certain is a decision in itself.
What justifies your premium pricing?
You’ve almost certainly had a lunch of leftovers in the last two weeks. Not the most obvious source of inspiration for thinking about value. However…
Stollen – that marvel of sweet, dense, fruit bread, candied peel and marzipan. Hailing from Germany and a Christmas tradition dating back to the 16th Century. What’s not to love about a loaf that appears to defy the rules of physics in being denser than its proportions should allow?
It’s available throughout the holiday season from all good German discounters for a relatively modest sum of money (even if a close look at the back of the packet suggests they are made closer to home than Germany)
Sliceable, dependable, unadulterated Stollen.
But we’d scoffed all of that and what was left was a box of six ‘posh’ stollen slices we’d been gifted. Given with love, and much appreciated. Yet at the same time a simple illustration of how value is always in the eye of the beholder.
The premium pricing showed this was:
✅ Ready-sliced for convenience
✅ Boxed, cellophaned and compartmentalized for freshness
✅ Lighter and easier to carry
✅ Equal portions of marzipan in every slice (we checked ?)
✅ Fruit pre-soaked in brandy
What does your customer really value about you?
After many rounds of a fully regulated taste test we concluded the real value of Stollen lies with the cheaper loaf version…
✨ It arrives as a single, heavy, icing sugar-dusted lump (sometimes misshapen if it’s come off worse in an encounter with a tin on a store shelf) There’s something very lovely about carefully lifting it off the shelf and feeling the heft of the marzipan promise to come
✨ The joy of increasing amounts of marzipan as you eat your way across the loaf towards the middle
✨ The negotiations involved in deciding how to cut the nobbly ends of the loaf to ensure whatever sliver of marzipan exists in the far corners is evenly shared out
✨ The debate about how thick each slice should be cut – depending upon whether it’s for elevenses or part of lunch or just that things have got desperate!
✨ And no brandy. If you’re not a drinker, then brandy-soaked fruits are definitely not value-adding
The experience of slicing up a proper loaf has become a tradition in itself. That emotional engagement is actually what creates the value-added premium.
Value really is in the eyes of the beholder
You’re probably not selling cake (though drop us your details if you are ?)
When considering how to increase value for customers, the answer may not be immediately obvious without asking them what they truly appreciate about what (or how) you provide to them.
? How do they use your product or service – beyond the ways you would expect?
? What unseen benefits does it give them – emotional, physical, financial, time?
? What problems does it help them avoid or resolve – beyond the obvious ones you’ve designed into your service or product?
? Would they pay more for any of these or can these attributes be enhanced in what you already provide?
? How can you make more of these elements and leverage them in what you offer?
If value has any true meaning for a customer and how you sell to them, it begins with understanding what they mean by value and how your product delivers against their criteria.
Which isn’t the same as just sprinkling boozy fruit into dough, and hoping every customer will love you ?