“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
As the iconic Maya Angelou quote so eloquently explains, people aren’t fixed on your tangible words or actions. Rather, they resonate with the intangible feelings beneath them. I’ll cut right to the chase: the same is true in marketing.
In a robust and highly competitive marketplace, customers often struggle to find tangible differentiators between brands and their competitors. Met with several similar products and services, a deeper sense of value is what turns prospects into loyal consumers.
This is why knowing and communicating your value proposition is so critical as you build out your strategic marketing plan.
The value of a powerful proposition
“People don’t go into a DIY store because they need one of our drills. They go because they need a hole in the wall,” the CEO of Black and Decker once said.
Likewise, Starbucks understands that they sell a social experience, not just some great coffee. Harley Davidson doesn’t sell motorcycles but rather freedom for middle-aged men. Shoes are not all Nike sells in the marketplace; beyond that, the company offers inspiration, and a just do it athletic mentality in each of us.
Now, over to you. What do you really sell?
Investopedia defines a value proposition as a value that a company promises to deliver to customers should they choose to buy their product.
While the product you sell is your tangible what, a value proposition represents an intangible why. This ‘why’ reflects a solution to a customer need; a need that often reflects something that your target audience wants to feel as a result of doing business with you.
The data-driven psychology of value
Relationships built on shared values are relationships that last, especially shared values that are effectively met.
By taking the time to engage with your target customer base and get to know their values, you will better understand the underlying motivations that drive them to make a purchase - buy a product or invest in a service. From there, you capitalize on that alignment to develop loyalty that is unique to who you are as a company.
While the intangible feelings your brand evokes can’t necessarily be captured in a data point, identifying who will resonate with your intangible value-add can be narrowed down through data-driven, psychographic research.
Psychographics refer to your audience's values, wants, concerns, needs, and behavioral tendencies. Very rarely does an individual make a purchase based on the product alone; there is often, if not always, an emotional component attached to their decision.
This is where you as a brand have a unique opportunity to nurture and build your relationship with those who interact with your brand. Your customers are human beings, after all! As such, they make decisions that benefit their survival and/or wellbeing in one way or another - whether physical, mental, emotional, or otherwise.
Your competitors can watch your efforts from outside and create a nearly identical product, but they can never match your value-driven identity as a brand. The more you develop this aspect of your brand and surrounding strategy, the more uniquely yours it truly becomes.
It’s no secret that, as a society, our behaviors, perspectives, and even our needs have changed drastically since the start of the pandemic, and as we begin to accept our new reality.
As such, the psychographic data you collected back in 2019 might not be relevant now in a post-2020 world.
If it’s been a while since you’ve been on the ground identifying what your customers are thinking, doing, and yearning for... now is the time. While you may have to strategically respond to your audience’s post-pandemic point-of-view in a new way, you may also identify new opportunities to connect with your customers.
People are yearning for value-based connections with brands they can trust post-COVID more than ever. By elevating the intangible value you offer beyond the product, you will not only impact whatever problem you’ve set out to solve, but the quality of their lives and businesses as a whole.