It’s easy for small business owners to assume their audience knows more about what’s on offer than they actually do. Because you’re living and breathing your business every day, it’s easy to overlook that fact that everyone else doesn’t necessarily see all the nuts and bolts of your value offering in the same way.
Let me give you an example. In your industry, would it be common practice for suppliers to provide:
- A complimentary 30 day trial, without customers needing to give a credit card number?
- Discounts for nurses / teachers / students?
- Free delivery and training?
- A 5% discount on invoices if they’re paid within 30 days?
Perhaps you offer something that’s part of the deal because “that’s the way everyone does it” in your industry. And because it’s commonplace, you don’t think it’s worth mentioning.
Just because you know, doesn’t mean that your customers know. It’s not their job to guess, speculate, or presume. It may be obvious to you that prices don’t include sales tax, or that installation and training is free. But perhaps your customers are unaware of such things.
Moreover by not explicitly mentioning it, your customers may think that you don’t offer it.
Communicating the value that your business / product / service brings to your potential customer is at the heart of corporate marketing communications. However, many startups and small businesses seem to think that they just need to focus their messaging on what they do differently from the competition, rather than what they do the same.
But are you sure that the things that you take for granted, are the same things what your customers take for granted?
Stating The Obvious
Whatever the norm is for your business space, did you know that mentioning something that would usually be taken as read can increase the likelihood that your company will be chosen over a competitor? Just because it’s a given as far as you’re concerned, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s something that your customers know to expect. Making such an assumption can be akin to leaving money on the table.
As far as your customers are concerned, your business value is usually far more that the product or service you sell. It’s also about the 1001 other elements to your proposition that helps create the feeling of “value” in your customers’ mind, that contributes to the delivery of a positive and pleasurable buying experience. Without that ‘special something’, customers see you as just another vendor.
The customer experience component is different for every business. It’s your product’s packaging. The speed, design, and ease-of-use of your website. The 60-day returns policy, two-year warranty, and free delivery. Since these things are part of the offering, they should also be part of the value proposition you’re marketing to your customers. Sure they may be blindingly obvious to you, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that they’re obvious to your customers. However seemingly obvious, such items should feature in your company’s communications efforts.
Just because certain parts of a product/service are deemed to be conventional or standard, it doesn’t mean that they’re not part of the value statement. It may seem like you’re stating the obvious, but oftentimes your market needs such assurances. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s wrong to assume.
Marketing Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Most companies churn out the same tired old communications rhetoric – “We’re the best”, “Our product or service is better value”, and so on. Not only do your customers not believe such grandiose claims, but such talk works against you when you’re trying to build trust.
Instead of shouting about how good you are in such blatant terms, it’s far better to communicate it by implication. Demonstrate how good / different you are by what you do, and what you’re seen to be doing – rather than by saying it. In business, just as in life, actions really do speak louder than words.
Corporate chest-beating is great for user events, shareholder communications and internal staff meetings. But for everyone else the very fact you’re the one doing the crowing raises suspicions and reduces your credibility. If you really were that great you wouldn’t need to shout about it, would you?
In contrast, if your actions and communications are presented in a way that implies you’re better, the claims of your company/product/service (even if they’re not more directly expressed) become more valid. More authentic, more believable. More accepted.