I know what you might be thinking: right now, any cash is good cash. I understand. But if we compete on price, it is a race to the bottom because there is always somebody who is willing to do a job for much less – someone in the UK, someone in the EU, or someone in China. There is always a person who will sacrifice an ingredient, customer service, and quality to sell something for cheaper.
When the customer buys the cheaper product and in a month or so that product is no good anymore, the customer is disappointed because they need to go and buy that product again and pay more. Wasted time, energy and resources – because he wanted to save a few pennies.
It’s time to redefine how we market our products and services. Value selling has been around for years, we all understand the concept of sell on value but many fail to implement its principles.
many of us make is we look at our neighbour, and then we copy what they do because we think that’s the right strategy for our business. But we don’t know the truth behind closed doors.
Another mistake we make is we look at the likes of Amazon or Marriott and we copy their strategy. Let’s get one thing clear – these giants were built for the mass market, and we can’t go after the mass market anymore. We don’t have the resources and this is not how a profitable brand is built in today’s world.
There are many reasons why we should stop having the ‘mass market’ mentality or ‘target everybody’ mentality. When I ask a business owner who do they target and they say ‘everybody who is interested in my product’ I want to scream because not everybody is our customer. We have to say NO to some customers because they are not the right fit. I used to say YES to every single customer, the ones that don’t pay, the ones that don’t want to understand certain things, the ones that didn’t value our work, the ones that didn’t have a great product. Do you know how much energy and resources I wasted? A lot. Do you really want Ms Jenny Complainer from down the road who will book a hotel night, and then complain about everything, from the room service to the air itself? No, of course not.
We can all agree that there are different types of clients. The reason why we attract the wrong clients is because we are not differentiating ourselves and we are not positioning our brand for people who we truly want to attract.
Can we please go back and think about value? What is value? Value is a perception that a customer has about a product, a service, a brand. A value proposition is about a statement, a promise that a brand makes to a customer if they choose their brand. But not everybody values the same things. For example, not everybody values great design, or art, or a specific car. We all have different beliefs and values.
When we make a promise as a brand we need to show and communicate that promise. With content marketing it’s so much easier to show it. Here’s an example. This week I saw a barber sign saying ‘Best Barber in London’. It made me laugh because it is definitely not the best barber in town! The visual communication was horrendous. I can’t find the picture now but I found a similar one, of the ‘Cutting Edge Hair & Beauty Salon’. Cutting edge? I don’t believe it. The design communicates cheap. I will not go into why, but the design is really bad, and this suggests the quality of their work is cheap. Without even visiting, I can imagine that the price for a haircut there would be a tenner.
For comparison, here’s a Ted’s Grooming Room shop window and signage. Without experiencing the service you already feel a certain way. I’ve been a client at Teds’ for around five years, and I can confirm that their promise and the perceived value they add is worth it.
A friend asked me ‘Why do you ‘waste’ £50 going to Ted’s Grooming Room when I can get the ‘same’ haircut at another barber shop for a tenner?’ The perceived value here is different – he looks at it and thinks it is ‘wasting’ money because he doesn’t see the value.
He perceives that his barber is worth it for a tenner. Which is fine.
The same friend told me once that Lidl’s pizza is better than Domino’s pizza – a £1 pizza is better than a £2 pizza. Again, our taste and views are different.
I recommended to the same friend the HIIT classes I started two months ago. These cost £205 per month. He said that his free Lose Belly Fat app is better.
Do you see a pattern here? Going back to our audience – it’s important to understand who we target, what their mentality is, how they think and what are their goals. So many brands are wasting money on trying to convince the inconvincible. We have to understand that it’s okay to say NO to some customers because they are not the right fit.
Let’s think about adding value with content marketing. We have this opportunity to create amazing content to inspire people to make a change, to educate people, to make people laugh and yet the majority of brands are using social media as an outdoor campaign shouting ‘buy my product’ every single time they post.
The reason why media companies and influencers experienced growth in recent years is because they provided value to the end consumer. The reason why comedians have a following is because they make people laugh, they are not going on and on about their shows. I’m following Ricky Gervais on Instagram because he makes me laugh. Occasionally, he will post about an upcoming show, and I am likely to buy a ticket or two – because, for a whole year, he provided value on my Instagram feed.
The reason I read Seth Godin’s newsletter is because he provides value with his thoughts, and the reason I listen to his podcast is because I find it valuable. When he sells a book, I buy it because he provided so much value beforehand. When he sells a course that I want to participate in, I buy it.
This is an example of adding value to the end consumer. On the other hand, I followed a gym on Instagram and got bored of their content because the value wasn’t there. Maybe the value in the first week was there but then it got repetitive and I got bored, so what did I do? I muted them. They could have created content with interesting, need-to-know facts about workouts, or, for example, ideas about how to keep new habits, or thoughts about fasting.
This is where a lot of brands get confused: they think everybody who is on Instagram is a potential customer. But you need to ask yourself ‘Why am I on social media?’ Is it to create loyal customers, or to find new customers? Usually the answer is both. But these brands’ actions very often prove the opposite – they try to find new customers at all costs, and forget about their current customers. Then they say that people are not loyal.
No-one can be loyal if the brand is not investing in the relationship. If the brand is doing ‘one-night stand’ marketing you can’t expect the customer to stick around for a wedding proposal.
Here’s a strategy that you can use right now and implement: create content that adds value to customers. Think of how you can add value with your blog, YouTube, podcast, Instagram, TikTok and create content like a media company. Create so much value for your best customers that they feel guilty when they are not buying from you. Look at what Pret A Manger is doing with their £20 coffee subscription – every time I walk in there I feel guilty for not buying more than a coffee!
There are three aspects that we need to look at to sell on value:
1) the product
2) perceived value
3) communicating that perceived value.
All three need to be aligned. For a potential customer it starts with looking visually at what the brand offers, including design, packaging, messaging, content on the website, and content on social.
If you create content that adds value for your ideal customer you will no longer have to fight the price game – and the price game is a losing game. The value game is so much better because customers come to you and buy from you because they truly wanted to buy from you, and not because of a special offer deal you offered. The majority of people who buy purely on price are going to leave you as soon as the next company offers something similar for less.
If you need help with your content marketing, you can get in touch with me today by sending me an email, [email protected] or give me a call, we can talk about your goals and what you want to achieve with content marketing.
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