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There are more than enough sleazy sales pitches out there drawing you in with the promise of a huge discount or life changing product and your customers are far from stupid. They know all about the quick sale, the big buck and how best to steer clear of those companies selling nothing but snake oil. But what about you?
In a tough selling climate there have to be better ways to get customers on board and looking at your products without the need to make empty promises or undercut your own profit margins.
The answer of course is yes there is. It’s not a well-kept secret, it’s not even something that takes high levels of skill, it’s just a part of your marketing campaign that will have you standing head and shoulders above the crowd with just one key word: value.
In essence you are selling value instead of features and well, that’s it. But what does that look like in an over saturated market stuffed full of marketing tricks? It looks like a brand who wants to do more than just make a quick sale.
- Putting Customers First. This is the point where you sit down and have a long think about your customer. As a marketer you already have a good idea of who it is buying up your product but now it’s time to go deeper. Creating an avatar for your customer, giving them a name, age and geographical location, figuring out where their favourite restaurant is, how they spend their downtime and even which social media they hang out on. All this plays directly into your customer-centric marketing strategy, offering that individual the very best in additional value.Knowing what your customers’ values are and translating them into your own offer is the central point of this marketing drive. For example, if your customer is likely to be a woman with teenage children and you sell beauty products, you’re going to promote the idea of body acceptance and beauty in everyone alongside your product pitch. You may even start a campaign promoting the values you know your customer already holds close. Cynical? Maybe, but it works.
Yes, an additional campaign may cost a little more but that building of up of a trusted relationship and the knock-on effects of that, are priceless and very much an investment into your future.
Be careful though not to make your offer gaudy or cheap, your client base are a smart lot and will quickly see through a campaign that doesn’t seem genuine. Consider a brand ambassador to back you and your messages. Easier to figure out if you’re a sports brand for example.
- Team Up, Win Big. Finding a company to team up with who adds value to your product, agrees with your principles and in no way rivals your brand is like gold dust but can be an exceptionally successful way of offering additional value.Think about a mobile phone company who also offers discounts on concert tickets or a car company who gives you access to the largest auto-repair business in your area. Complimentary, without rivalry and all working for the customer’s benefit. It’s these kind of partnerships that help customers feel they’ve won the jackpot when looking at one or either of your products.
- Align Yourself Correctly. If you’re not planning on promoting your own core values through an in-house marketing campaign, than you can do far worse than attaching your brand to one that is already well-established.By setting out your core principles and values and then finding similar in the charitable or not-for-profit sector your name will steadily build up a capital investment of goodwill, trust and responsibility. These intangible add-ons are the foundations on which brand loyalty is built. And like any good investment they are built to last. You can do a lot with a bank account full of goodwill towards your brand. It certainly stands you in good stead for the future.
Political campaigning is a risky move if you’re not 100% convinced of the politics of your core consumer base but when done right, this bold statement can have an exceptional impact. Going against the grain of a political policy, supporting a group who might otherwise be marginalised will stand your brand apart as a campaigning group who is not afraid to stand up and be counted and who really cares about your consumers and their value system.
Consider musicians who publicly condemn a political leader for using their music on the campaign trail. Their political conscience is bared for the world to see and depending on your political alignment, we respect their use of the public platform. The risk factor does put brands off using this technique so, in many ways you have a clear shot, but you only have one shot so get your target dead-on.
- The Trickle Down Effect. Think of a corporation or brand whose values you respect. Why do you have such a high regard for them? Because you believe them, when they say they care. It’s true of every brand that successfully uses value marketing techniques successfully. You really can’t be all good on the surface and rotten at the core. Your company values should be held at the very top of your organisation and trickle down and out to every branch.If you’re the CEO, how are you telling your customers that you and your brand’s values are one in the same? Adding a face to a faceless claim, is crucial. It, not only, tells your customers exactly who you are and what you stand for, it inspires and motivates staff to do exactly the same. For example, if you’re a men’s suit company and you’re looking to boost your CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) commitments, then there’s clearly some excellent opportunities to show how personally involved you can be in a community project, positioning yourself internally as a leader and externally as a CEO who’s very much about community.
Choose your CSR projects wisely, there should always be some link back to either the type of product you sell or the industry you are a part of. Choose something that makes you feel a genuine purpose and gives you something personally that you can take away with you and discuss with friends and family.
- The Drawbacks. Not everyone is on board with value added marketing, there have been forms of this technique floating around the marketing ether for many years and not all have been successful. In fact, it’s only in recent years with a surge of psychological research that the idea has really taken off.For some marketers the idea that you can predict customer behaviour is absurd, especially when we are so often at a loss to explain to ourselves why we do the things we do.
This scepticism, though justified, fails to address why value marketing is so successful and why more and more companies are using the customer’s emotions to draw them towards their brand and seeing real impacts.
However you cut it, value added marketing isn’t going anywhere. It may be manipulative, it may be bordering on the cynical but there’s no doubt that it works when done well. If you’re looking to position yourself as a brand with morals, then take the time to consider exactly who you are and exactly what it is you believe in. Promoting yourself through a cause you’re not 100% behind will quickly backfire and have you floundering.
Talk to your customers, align your staff and take a deep breath. Your marketing techniques are about to change radically.
Note: this post contains contributed content.