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Home arrow Marketing arrow Value-ology: Aligning sales and marketing to shape and deliver profitable customer value propositions
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Developing Proposition Themes

What we are advocating here is that what comes out of the evaluation of customer business issues should shape the key proposition themes that you use to develop your approach. We will show how to get to these themes in more depth in Chap. 5. How many you go with is up to you, but for reasons that will become obvious when we get to the campaign and messaging chapters we think it should be no more than three, or four at a stretch. We advocate that you should tie your solutions, offers, products, messaging and campaigns to these proposition themes.

The benefits of this approach are:

• You demonstrate to the customer through all your communications that you are trying to make a difference or ‘add value’ to their business

  • • It provides a discipline to use customer issues as a starting point for all your conversations
  • • You will not be bombarding them with irrelevant, disjointed messages that jump from product to product
  • • You will save marketing money as you can array all your products and solutions under these themes
  • • You will make more money, as in our experience if you use this approach you don’t have a cross-sell, up-sell problem; therefore you’re not selling one product at a time

The themes that you select should:

  • • Capture the essence of the key customer issues that you feel your company can address
  • • Resonate with customers as something they are aspiring to achieve
  • • Be broad and flexible enough to allow sector, segment and customer tailoring as you move up the value stack towards financially justified individual CVPs

Some common pitfalls you need to avoid are:

  • • Don’t be too generic in the way you communicate these themes; this is a common complaint that salespeople have. The President of Sales of a US- based global ICT (information and communications technology) company recently told us: ‘Some of the marketing communication is so generic it’s just not helpful either to the customer or to the sales folks.’ Make sure you provide insight about the issues that led you to the themes.
  • • Don’t make the top level themes too restrictive. A Segment Marketing Director of a global IT (information technology) supplier said: ‘We have a small number of themes which we are supposed to use to guide our communication. Unfortunately a couple of them don’t really apply to my customer set.’
  • • Make sure your value themes or your corporate value proposition are about customers or you’ve blown it straight away. We know a US organisation that says it provides ‘industry leading technology’. Well, one of its divisions can’t really say that, but who cares; it’s got nothing to do with customer value anyway.

More on how to get to the themes in Chaps. 4 and 5.

 
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