Category Archives for "Elements of Value"

Pounds sterling and a sponge

Offers that Make Money

Oh, isn’t this the popular element of value?  Is yours one of those offers that make money for clients?  Take care when making this claim.

What is It?

This is perhaps the most popular claim made by marketers.  After all, if you don’t make money out of your marketing, what is the point?  What I want to suggest is we need to take care making this claim.

Let’s be clear, no-one can offer a 100% guarantee their offer makes money for their clients.  Nowhere near.

There are a number of reasons, mostly outside the control of either business owners or clients.

Approaches work when applied in the right circumstances.  Many marketers sell on their authority.  They have experience and made a good living because they stumbled upon something that works for them.  They made a £100K profit in a single product launch.  They’ve had many clients and know the many pitfalls en route.  So, they claim they can help you make money.  This is one common approach to offering this element of value.

Alternatively, think of something like Facebook ads.  You pay them for access to their database.  Everyone gets the same service.  Success depends on the ad you put up.  So there is risk involved.  But Facebook and similar organisations sell access.  They leave it to you to work out how to use that access but they can claim to help you make money.

Value to the Client

Note I am not criticising either approach but be cautious about making this claim.  The customer receives insights that may help them make money at some stage in their business development.  Those insights can be valuable but they don’t always make money.

Let’s say you try a Facebook ad and no-one clicks on it.  You can work on that and improve your ad until people start to click on it.  You learn from experience.

The same applies to training and coaching.  You may in time use the insights you glean to make money but this is not always a direct result of the service you receive.

The difference is analogous to brand and direct marketing.  With Facebook you have means to monitor your investment.  You can apply yourself to working out what works.

With a coach the results can be harder to pin down.  It is more like brand marketing, where you slowly see an improvement in learning over time.

How to Get There

The challenge to the coach is how to manage expectations.  If you stand on stage and promise the audience will make money as a result of listening to you, what is the best way to say this?

Some audience members may not have capacity to make the promised results.  Their business may not be developed to a stage where they can take full advantage of your offer.

If you cannot, like Facebook, provide feedback so the customer can see how much they are earning, then be cautious about making big claims.

Your Offer

People expect any marketing service or business coach to help them make money.  You can help your clients understand financial implications for their business.  You can help them find options to make the money they need.

Help them design a strategy and work on its strengths and weaknesses.  Help them reflect on experience, identify where they are going wrong and put it right.

But in the end you cannot help them make money.  They are the business-owner and ultimately that’s their responsibility.

This is the twentieth of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

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Complexity: fractal image

Offers that Reduce Complexity and Simplify

Things are complex and the human mind cannot cope with complexity.  Offers that simplify are therefore attractive.

What is It?

Complexity happens along the border between order and chaos.  Anything complex treads a path between ordered patterns and muddled confusion.

Consequently, complexity is difficult to comprehend and specific complex systems are the domain of specialists.  Mostly people do not want to spend time and energy understanding complexity.

One useful concept is the black box.  You know the inputs and outputs but do not need to know what happens in the box.  So long as the outputs are what you need and you can provide inputs, the details of what happens in the box are not important.

Value to the Client

Find a pattern among the complexity that allows the customer to understand enough to make the system work in their favour.

How to Get There

Take marketing as an example.  There are a bewildering number of marketing techniques available.  Some of these techniques are themselves complex.  No-one set out to create a complex market for marketing techniques.  It has become complex through addition of more and more systems.

The marketing specialist has two choices.  They can specialise in a single technique or else interpret the whole.

Single Technique

Single techniques work well for businesses that know their stage in development and have a clear message to get across to a specific market.  The provider of the technique helps the business clarify whether it meets requirements for the technique.  What if they find the business does not meet the requirements?  OK if they find out before they are a client but several weeks into a contract, it could be a real problem.

Many clients do not know what they want and are likely to show interest in whatever method captures their attention, even though it may not be for their best interest.  The provider must work out whether this is the right client.  It is likely they spend a lot of time setting prospects on the right road instead of making sales.  They can mitigate this to some degree through marketing, so they are clear who benefits from their technique. Few do that perhaps because it is difficult and they are not clear about their own message.

Classification

The second approach is to classify the field and teach the classification. I call this orientation.  The idea is to help the client understand their own business needs and so interpret the approaches on offer.

The former approach, sometimes called Done-for-You or expert consultancy, simplifies using the black box model.  The latter, sometimes called Done-with-You or coaching, builds understanding.

Your Offer

These two approaches are found in many fields, eg healing, life coaching, business coaching.  In terms of your offer, pick one and whichever you pick remember you must simplify your field.

Most offers are too complex.  They dwell on matters important to the business and not to the client.  For example, I know what the word empowerment means but I have no idea whether I would benefit from empowerment coaching.  The world is full of people offering all manner of useful methods but it is much harder to convey what any method can do for those who use it.

And remember it is likely, whatever your prospects seek, they’ll be interested in something that simplifies.  Complexity is the problem, few people want more of it.

This is the nineteenth of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

Next: Makes Money + 11 more

Clocks entering piggy bank slot

How a Good Offer Saves Time

Today we move from Emotional to Functional Elements of Value.  This is the lowest level of Bain’s version of Maslow’s triangle.  The idea is to have functional elements in place before we meet higher values.  The first of these elements saves time.

Functional Elements of Value are practical skills or services.  We can expect them to be technical and measurable.  Emotional values have a subjective dimension that is hard to measure. Here we would expect observable positive change.

What is It?

The change we expect to see is some measurable savings in time.  Our competitors take three days, we take two.

There are two ways to interpret this.  There are services that save me time.  If I employ an administrator they save me time to devote to other things.

Time can also be saved indirectly.  The delivery that takes 2 days instead of 3, might not save me any time.  For example, a birthday present must arrive by a specific date but only saves time because if it doesn’t arrive, I have to go shopping!

Waiting for a part I need to complete an order enables me to meet a deadline.  The actual time it takes me to complete the order is the same even if the part is late.  However, if it is late, I have to re-negotiate my contract with my customer.

Value to the Client

For most businesses time is money.  So, any dimension of your offer that saves time is potentially attractive.

From the point of view of the customer, there are several aspects of saving time.  Note any of these are urgent sometimes and just an inconvenience at others:

  • Hassle free delivery on time. There may be a way around a late delivery of a product or service but the point is I was not expecting to have to take that route.
  • I employ an administrator or deploy an online package because I want to save time. This enables me to focus my work on stuff I am good at or only I can do.
  • Sometimes I need to review my time management because I am burnt out or stressed. This is a service that does not save time itself but seeks to help me work out how to save time.

How to Get There

For many businesses, an offer that saves time is important but secondary to the service they deliver.  Honouring an order where delivery is promised by a certain date, is second to whatever is to be delivered.  Of course, a shorter delivery time is an advantage but it becomes important when the customer wants the offer.  Some customers may not be bothered about the exact date of delivery.

Similarly a business offering administrative services might choose to emphasise efficiency or competence over time savings.  However, mention of time saved is likely to appeal to some customers.

Similarly a time management coach can emphasise stress relief or health benefits.

It is worth mentioning time because for some customers it is crucial.

Your Offer

For any offer, consider whether you can claim it saves time.  Some customers say they don’t mind whether it takes three days or five, so long as it is done well.  For others three days instead of 5 may be crucial.  The main thing to remember is once you make the promise, keep it.

And don’t forget some offers are not about saving time.  If you coach, it may be best to take a few months because it allows time for reflection and practice.  Be upfront and explain why it takes as long as it takes.

And if someone wants something faster than your normal delivery time, is there scope to charge for fast delivery?  So long as you can deliver faster and you explain potential disadvantages, this is an advantage.

This is the eighteenth of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

Next: Simplifies + 12 more

A key provides access

How Your Offer Provides Access to Other Services

Last time, I suggested coaches might offer style advice as an extra.  If this includes meeting with a style coach, it’s an example of how a coach provides access to other services.

What is It?

Coaches and other business people open doors to additional support, as a step towards collaboration between businesses.  Here are three types of support.

Collaboration delivering an offer.  A business that offers businesses outdoor pursuits as an opportunity for team building or strategic planning needs experts to supervise outdoor pursuits and business coaches.  One or the other is likely to be brought in.

Another approach is to offer bonuses.  These may be optional or integral but not strictly part of the offer.  They are something the client takes advantage of if they choose.

For example, as part of my coaching, I might offer a free session with a style coach.  I can approach this as optional.  Or I can suggest this is important and so make it integral to my offer.  If the client refuses, it is unlikely to have a major impact on the overall success of the package.

Finally, you can have contacts on your books and offer to set up meetings.

Value to the Client

The value is potentially three-fold:

  • It raises awareness of a particular aspect of the coaching subject
  • It introduces the client to a specialist in a particular field
  • And saves time for the client.

The specialist gains by perhaps finding a new client themselves.

How to Get There

This is an unsung aspect of networking.  If you make contact with people offering suitable services, build a database of likely contacts.  These people may offer additional services to your clients.

Two things to consider.  One is the quality of their services.  Should you offer to put your client in touch with someone, if you do not know the quality of their services?  If you have not used them before, explain this to the client and suggest they report back to you about how it goes.  It might be possible to approach the third-party together.

As an advocate can you negotiate a good deal for your client?  Most coaches offer a free first session.  What does the third-party provider normally offer and are they willing to offer a bit more?  Also, is a discount on normal prices possible?  Clients are often reluctant to ask on their own behalf and if you do it for them, it adds value to your offer.

Your Offer

Ideally, you want three happy people if you do this as part of your offer.  You, your client and the third-party should all benefit.  Building a portfolio of good referrals can be really helpful.

And remember, if you add clients to your list of trusted providers they have another reason to value your service.

This is the seventeenth of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

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Marketing Attractiveness

Attractiveness is another element of value that enhances status.  But what is it?

What is It?

Superficially, attractiveness is looking good and so covers a range of products and services.  These include clothing and cosmetics and activities that improve the look of the body, such as exercise, diet and various other therapies such as voice coaching.

At a deeper level, there is the distinction between fashion and style.  Fashion is external and followed slavishly, perhaps undermines identity.  Style is internal.  A stylish person adapts fashion to their own ends and perhaps leads fashion.

Most people mix the two, developing style based on fashion.  Neither fashion nor style necessarily equates to attractiveness but the important thing is the person feels attractive.

Value to the Client

So, what is the value of attractiveness to the client?  To some degree attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder.  Not everyone may agree your fashion and style choices are attractive.  And perhaps the most important beholder is the person themselves.  Do I believe I am attractive?

Some of us are not that bothered about our appearance.  However, it depends on the image we want to convey.  Attractiveness matters at a job interview or on a date.  Most people give their appearance some thought under such circumstances.  I might feel a little odd attending an interview in unfamiliar clothes but the impact on others is important.

Is it attractiveness we seek at formal events such as interviews?  There are of course issues around sexual harassment in employment and it could be argued that attractiveness plays to this dynamic.  This may be so but dress codes are different between a job interview and a date.

I remember an interview panel over 20 years ago, where one member objected to the candidate we appointed because he had bad teeth.  Most panels these days would not raise such issues but it is likely they still have a subconscious impact.

This adds up to the unsurprising insight that personal style matters because we need to minimise adverse unconscious prejudice.

How to Get There

Raising appearance with clients may be necessary from time to time with most coaches.  The main thing to be aware of is, if it is not in the original contract, the coach is likely to make their client defensive.  If appearance is important and is not your main concern, perhaps a bonus meeting with a style adviser might be a good way to broach the subject.

Apart from those who explicitly market their offers in terms of attractiveness, there are probably others who could but don’t.  A gymnasium for example could market on the health benefits of regular exercise but attractiveness is implicit.  Lacking attractiveness is an anxiety many people share and so explicitly addressing it is an option.

Your Offer

For coaches directly addressing appearance in some way, attractiveness may be an excellent value to add to the benefits of your offer.  Certainly crafting it in terms of personal style may help as many people warm to opportunities for self-expression.

Where attractiveness is incidental to your offer, it may be worth offering something as an optional bonus.

This is the sixteenth of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

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  • Functional: 14
Rubber ducks floating along a drain

How to Find Entertainment in Your Offer

Beware the f-word!  It’s odd how rarely fun or entertainment features as part of an offer despite frequent references to fun in business circles.

What is It?

Perhaps for some people, fun diverts from serious matters.  Whether a welcome diversion or to be avoided at all costs, fun is definitely secondary.

However, to claim something serious is fun or entertaining in some way attracts more people.  They don’t want to be bored and no matter how important the topic, to make it palatable is no bad thing.

Fun or entertainment has intrinsic value.  It’s an opportunity to take a break, try something new and relax.  Done with others it enhances relationships and perhaps defuses antagonism.

Value to the Client

Fun may be memorable.  To what extent does fun, where it engages attention, help people remember important stuff?

Getting away from the familiar helps strategic planning or team building.  Sometimes when we engage with the unfamiliar, we find new insights spontaneously come to our attention.  Fun has utility.

So, fun helps us to

  • Build or mend relationships
  • Take a rest or respite
  • Provide space to think strategically
  • Build trust in teams
  • Learn new skills
  • Provide an effective learning environment

How to Get There

For coaches fun may be a means to an end.  It is rarely an end in itself.  If clients enjoy coaching sessions or training, they are likely to benefit more and return for more.

How do you market the fun element; convey fun without undermining seriousness of purpose?

Some things are enjoyable without being fun.  For example, a therapeutic massage may be enjoyed but we would not describe it as fun.  Clients might enjoy learning a new skill through hard work.

Your Offer

Most important is benefits to the client.  If you promise they’ll enjoy picking up benefits, all well and good.  Ask for testimonials that say they enjoyed working with you or even had fun.

This is the fifteenth of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

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outline image of massage

How to Market Therapeutic Value

In my last post about Elements of Value, I described the value of well-being.  Perhaps a more obvious value is where health–related offers have therapeutic value.

What is It?

The focus here is not so much the value of well-being in support of other activities, as curing or relieving medical conditions.

Therapy should be provided by trained medical practitioners.  Many work independently of the health service.  For example, someone using massage to treat sports injury can practice independently.  If you pay for treatment privately, it is reasonable to ask about qualifications and accountability.

So, this heading covers a multitude of alternative therapies, eg hypnosis or homeopathy.

Sometimes therapy and well-being are closely related.  Stress coaching includes aspects of well-being, eg resilience coaching but can be therapeutic for acute stress.

Many products are therapeutic, eg clothing, food and drink, prosthetics, various aids.

Value to the Client

This is fairly straightforward.  Cure of acute conditions, eg sports injuries and mitigation of chronic conditions.

Remember there are other benefits.  Mitigation of a chronic condition has a major impact on the client’s comfort, relationships, effectiveness and prowess.  The value can be far greater than immediate relief of pain or disfigurement.

How to Get There

Probably a more important aspect of this element of value is providing evidence you are qualified to treat the condition.  Show you are qualified, accountable and effective:

  • Have you been trained to a standard where you can work with patients?
  • Are you part of an organisation that checks you are providing an effective and safe service?
  • Can you show you have treated people and they value your service?

Similar questions apply for products.

Your Offer

Remember to focus on the benefits of using your service.  Chronic conditions can last for years and people become accustomed to them.  What are the benefits of taking up your offer?

It is worth focusing on a single condition so prospects who search for you see clearly you have helped people with the same condition.  Sell the benefits and not the service.  If I have heard hypnotherapy helps people give up smoking, when I see the word I may not associate it with weight loss.  So, to engage my interest tell me what you treat and not so much about how you do it!

This is the fourteenth of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

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  • Functional: 14
Walkers in silhouette against sunset

Marketing Physical and Mental Well-Being

Physical and mental well-being is important and integrates into a range of packages.

What is It?

Some offers are primarily about well-being, whilst other packages integrate with aspects of well-being.

For example, a health practitioner offers outdoor activities to businesses for team building and strategic planning. This business moves from health to business services.  The offer combines business objectives with an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, learn new skills and experience something other than sitting at a desk.

Other coaches offer walking days or half-days to their clients.  Walking improves physical health and it is an opportunity to reflect at a deep level.

Here are a few well-being related things businesses offer clients:

  • Physical exercise from walking to challenging outdoor or indoor activities
  • Healthy food and drink
  • Massage and other therapies
  • Clothing to enable participation in physical activity
  • Health tests and monitoring
  • Equipment, eg pedometers
  • Exercise guides, manuals, recipes.
  • Health related coaching

Value for the Client

Where someone is stuck, health can be a reason.  Chronic conditions creep up on people, particularly where they spend a lot of time sitting.

To take part in healthy activity is not just an adjunct to the serious business in hand.  Go out of the office, sit in a training session and apart from the walls, little is different.

Physical exercise helps reach for insights that do not come to someone following their daily routine.  In other words, physical activities are not just enjoyable, they are the point.  Many people can’t solve their problems because they don’t keep themselves healthy!

How to Get There

Many people understand this and seek offers that incorporate healthy activity.  Others are not so keen.  So, understand the connections between health and problem solving and show how your activities help clients meet their goals, whatever they are.

Your Offer

Be clear about what you offer.  It might be some aspect of physical and mental well-being.  On the other hand, you may use the same methods as a part of coaching to solve apparently unrelated problem.

This is the thirteenth of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

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  • Functional: 14
Wax and seal

How Badge Value Conveys Status

Status is why prospects accept or refuse your offer.  The problem is, for most offers, it is not obvious to third parties the customer has experienced the offer.  Perhaps they need something with badge value.

What is It?

Some years ago a colleague, who was a development worker in a neighbouring town, organised a community garden.  People in the town volunteered to help build the garden.  They included children.  So, my colleague designed certificates for the children.  She was nonplussed when the adults complained they had not received a certificate.

The certificate showed they helped.  They had no other evidence of their involvement and they had bought into the value of the project.

Branding has badge value.  There is something about designer clothing those in the know recognise.  The problem is how do you show you have done something if it is not visible?

You go on a course and receive a certificate but perhaps a badge you can add to a website helps?  Or with a client from a well-known business or organisation, can you show their logo on your website?

Testimonials and blurbs have badge value.  The fact they are there is effective, even if people don’t read them.

Value for the Client

There are two things to consider here.  Do you need a badge to offer clients to show they have completed your coaching or consultancy?  This can double as a promotional tool.

Or you may help your client find the badge they need to promote their business.

How to Get There

There are many types of badge and your particular circumstances help you choose which is best.

  • The badge may be integral to your offer, eg a hairstyle.
  • Designer labels
  • Actual badges to pin on clothing
  • Certificates
  • Articles in printed media, which can be used to promote your business, eg in a restaurant window
  • Badges on websites and social media
  • Logos and designs
  • Carrier bags are perhaps no longer a good ideas but bags for life can show allegiance to a particular store or supplier.
  • Group photos can be circulated on social media.

Your Offer

Bear in mind a badge for your customers may serve as publicity for your business.  Also, some customers may not want a badge, eg customers being coached for some reason they find embarrassing.

So, ask permission where the badge is not integral to your offer.  Where customers experience embarrassment, try suggesting they help others by “paying it forward”.

Offer something customers are proud to be a part of so that wearing the badge is a genuine increase on status.

This is the twelfth of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

Next:  Wellness + 4 more

  • Functional: 14
Drawing of a kingfisher

Design or Aesthetics?

It is easy to think design and aesthetics are the same, indeed Bain implies as much.  I think it’s important to distinguish between them.  You need to understand which you are talking about: design or aesthetics?

What are They?

Design and aesthetics occupy opposite dimensions of effectiveness and creativity.

Design should answer the question: does this do what it is designed to do efficiently and effectively?  The question is primarily functional.    If it doesn’t then it is not well-designed.

Aesthetics appreciates the beauty of the solution.  Does it look good?  Trousers serve many purposes, eg they cover the body, protect it from injury or cold.  They can also look smart or beautiful.

Here’s the deal: design and aesthetics support each other.  This is not an absolute, they don’t always.

An effective website does not have to look good.  Usually it is better if it looks good but it is not essential.  Furthermore, it does not have to look good to everyone.  Different groups have different aesthetics.

Value for the Client

To design something effective requires creativity.  The best designs look good and there is something satisfying when a well-designed solution is beautiful.  Aesthetics sell but only up to a point.  If the underlying design is poor, the product is discredited, however good it looks.

Aesthetics are packaging but they can be more than that.  Think of slimline TV screens.  Televisions used to be huge and heavy.  At the time they seemed to be the height of technological sophistication.  Now no-one would contemplate having one in their living room.  Modern TV screens do look better and take up less space.

We did not mind the old style because most of us did not think about what a TV screen might be.  That is the job of the designer who seeks something effective and aesthetically pleasing.

How to Get There

Design principles apply as much to services as they do to products.  A well-designed service delivers its promise on time.  Aesthetics apply to the marketing of the service, sometimes the right image is not easy to find.

If you are a designer, then delivering an attractive product that works is your brief.  But coaches must help their clients understand design principles for their product or service.

Whether as a prelude to employing a designer or something the client does themselves; the client must understand the principles beneath their design and aesthetics.

None of this is easy but done well, it is effective.

Your Offer

So, designer or coach conveys why understanding what is good design and good aesthetics is important.  To engage a designer you must define what you want from them.  Work in partnership with the designer, if you want something that works.

Your offer may be to help with briefing a designer through deeper understanding of your client’s offer.

This is the eleventh of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

Next:  Badge Value

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  • Functional: 14