Climb The Values Ladder To Reach Your Customers
The values ladder is a strategic tool that can transform your marketing activities and make them much more targeted towards what your customers are actually looking for.There are a number of different tools we can use to improve a marketing strategy, including audience persona building, market research, A/B testing of online marketing activities and more, but the values ladder is something that gets right down to the heart of why your product or service is what your customers need, and how you have the edge on the competition.
There are five rungs on the values ladder:
Starting at the bottom, the first task is to identify the key attributes of your business – what is your product or service, and how does it work?This is the basis for the journey up the rest of the ladder.The second rung represents the functional benefits of your offering; the nitty-gritty of what your customer can do with your product or service and the problems it can solve are crucial in pitching your business offering at the right customers.
The third rung represents the emotional benefits of your offering.This relates to the positive feelings like control, peace of mind and confidence that using your product causes for your customer.Even in B2B sales there is still an emotional component to the value of your offering – if it doesn't make the customer feel good in some way they're less likely to buy or use it in the first place, and if these emotional benefits aren't strong enough they may look elsewhere for an alternative product.
Leading on from the emotional benefits is emotional value, the fourth rung on the values ladder.The emotional value of your product or service is what it allows your customer to achieve, which in a way is tied very closely to the previous rung – some factors may be applicable at both these stages.Finally, the last rung on the values ladder is the end value.The end value encompasses all the benefits identified throughout the process of climbing the ladder, and the wider effects of using your product or service.Ask questions about what benefits using your product or service has on the wider society in the region, how can it deliver benefits further than just to your end user, and what it empowers your users to do.
This last stage especially can involve some abstract thinking, but it is worthwhile taking the time to complete this exercise over the course of a few days (we all get our most insightful thoughts when we least expect them, so don't be surprised if it takes many days to complete the exercise fully, in fact if you complete it in a single day you're likely to have overlooked something).The end value stage tells you why your company, product or service exists at the deepest level, and what you should be pitching when you're trying to win business.
If you have products or services aimed at quite different demographics you may find it useful to complete the values ladder for each one (although the lower rungs may be similar, or overlap in some areas, the higher rungs could tell a very different story).You may even uncover value that your product or service brings that you hadn't even considered, and this can be a very valuable insight for developing your marketing strategies and even for product development.
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