Building the Foundation of Value-ology

What Is Value?

In this chapter we will look at:

  • • Bringing the value conversation into the open
  • • Defining value
  • • Understanding different types of value
  • • A word on value and values
  • • The dynamic nature of value
  • • Mapping your value perspective

The Elephant in the Room

As businesspeople, we know that marketing is an activity that helps a company to make money by achieving sustained competitive advantage. It does this by knowing what the customer needs and making sure the business gives it to them in a way that is different from and better than competing offers. Many sales and marketing professionals have received training and education in colleges and universities and have become familiar with the classic marketing management tools of business analysis and decision-making, such as customer segmentation, targeting and positioning, and how to manage the marketing mix.

Right at the heart of sales and marketing practice lies the concept of ‘value’. Yet pick up a typical marketing or sales management textbook and it is barely mentioned. It’s as if the idea of value is so self-evident that it hardly warrants

© The Author(s) 2017 S. Kelly et al., Value-ology,

DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-45626-3_1

further discussion. We all know what it is, we all know how to create it, we all know how to deliver it and we all know how to communicate it. And that’s exactly where a company’s problems on the subject of value can begin because value is the elephant in the room. Something big and obvious that we all know we should pay more attention to really understanding, yet choose not to do so.

Here is an example to show you what we mean. We can remember being part of a meeting with one of the largest licensed hospitality retailers in the UK. This company owned a large chain of pubs and they were very keen to improve the image and experience of pub visiting in order to attract women and families. The retailer’s representative (who had significant influence over how many products were placed) opened the conversation with ‘we are all about giving our customers value for money’. Everyone in the room naturally agreed, and soon everyone in the industry was coming up with product developments that they believed delivered ‘value for money’. The thing was, everyone interpreted what the customer and customer’s customer wanted differently, and large amounts of time were devoted to debating the merits of new product concepts without ever establishing what ‘value for money’ really meant and for whom. For some, it was increased revenue for the pub owner, for some it was increased consumer dwell time in the pub, for others it meant designing less male- oriented products, and so on.

Everyone, it seemed, had a different point of view about how value for money could be delivered, and overlooked the fact that they hadn’t made it clear what was meant by value in the first place.

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