By now we can all agree that Amazon has radically changed the game for retailers and the consumer market. The game that Amazon has changed is the price – value game. They are delivering uncommon value in terms of how, where and when products can be ordered and delivered directly to your home, at the lowest available cost. In normal times, retailers were challenged to leverage their heavy investments in fixed real estate and traditional sale priced marketing methods to meet the “on-demand and individualized” needs of consumers. In the Covid-19 world of shut-downs and close-ins, Amazon is Primed to deliver a knock-out blow to the likes of Macy’s, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Nordstrom, and Lord & Taylor.

The game changing won’t stop at the retail and consumer market. Amazon now has their sights set on the B2B product and services market. When customers evaluate an offering, they are weighing the price of the product / service against the perceived value of that product.

If your value proposition hasn’t evolved beyond a good price, high quality and personal service mix then you are at risk from Amazon and other customer-focused competitors.

In this market and beyond, winning organizations will continually evaluate, evolve and elevate their value to meet the changing needs of its best customers. So how do you manage and evolve your value proposition? It starts with an awareness of what your doing today is not enough – and extends to an understanding that value is grounded in assets and investments to deliver your value consistently. Or another way of saying this, a winning value proposition is more than just a new tagline.

I love a good framework and I offer two interesting frameworks to understand the types of available value and how value must migrate over time.

The Bain & Company Value Pyramid:  

Bain & Company has identified 30 “elements of value”—fundamental attributes in their most essential and discrete forms. These elements fall into four categories: functional, emotional, life changing, and social impact. Functional value is necessary, but not enough. In general, the more elements of value provided the greater the customers’ loyalty and higher the company’s sustained revenue growth. It is not realistic that you will invest in all 30 elements of value and it’s not compelling to message of 30 elements in your brand overview. The better pathway is to engage your customers to understand their specific emotional, life changing and social impact needs.

The Mosaic Partners Value Migration Model:

We developed this model several years ago and without knowing it at the time, we turned the The Bain & Company Pyramid Model on its side. Some basic concepts to share:

  • If your value is centered on the quality of your product and services then much of your messaging is focused on getting the customer to understand you.
  • If your value extends to Quality Services, Focused Solutions and Unique Experiences then much of your engagement is focused on understanding the needs of your customer.
  • You will have more competitors and more likely to be disrupted by the next Amazon when your value stops at the price and quality offering mix.
  • Your value must evolve over time (status quo is a killer) because there is a strong market magnate that will pull your offering back to the Commodity Trap.
  • You must be bold to ask different types of questions to understand the full needs of customers and to elevate your value.

Questions to Ask Your Best Customers to Develop a Winning Value Proposition:

  • What expectations do you have for our solutions and our work together? Where are we exceeding your expectations and where are we missing them?
  • Beyond what you buy from us, what do we solve for you in terms of your growth objectives?
  • What value have we created for you and your company? Based upon your growth plans, how can we create even greater value for you?
  • Who else do you use for our types of offerings? When do you select us and when do you choose a different provider?
  • In your words – who are we, what do we do and how are we different than other providers?
  • If you could change 1 thing (wave the magic wand) about working with our company, what would that one change be?

Using an outside resource is extremely helpful in this process to ensure unbiased results and to gain open and honest feedback from your customers. Engaging your best customers (in these and other questions) is the best path forward to create a winning value proposition and to deliver sustainable revenue growth.