Your Guide to Business Advantage


Everyone is entitled to their opinions...

Define Value to Sell Value

On the surface, it seems that established brands are always improving their products, taking them to market, and selling them. Makes sense right? Its good practice for them. It makes total sense when adding incremental value, to get the new and improved message out to the world.

For entrepreneurs, its a bad idea…
Their next thought after “invention” is the goto market, where the first mis-step takes place.
Advisors, Incubators, and Marketing mavens all advise entrepreneurs that marketing is essential.They are correct, but not as some entrepreneurs imagine.

The font, a look, snappy graphics, responsive web site, marketing collateral, and stationary package are all par for the course. By now you have invested $5 - $10 - $20 grand all in, followed by the usual chest thumping show of pride at your new brand.

Yet if you can’t and don’t first define your value, then your first step will be a mis-step.

Almost all branding in entrepreneurial business is product centric and presentation focused (image). It tells the universe a lot about what you think of yourself and your product(s).
Tastes great - Less Filling and all that.

Yet what’s missing times out of 10 is the verbal, contextual, and visual imagery that reflects your customer’s universe.

That is why most marketing content is about a positive future, happy faces, easy peasy, add water and stir. The messy stuff like their problems and issues, the real challenges they face, their identity affects and artifacts, and the real impact not solving them is having right now. This is especially the case in B2B complex sales where typically there are between 5.4 and 21 consideration participants.

Whats missing is a concerted effort and successful delivery of positioning, which can best be described as what the customer (prospect) thinks of you.

When all you talk about is you, you, you, the result is too many “So What?” questions. “So what” questions are killers, and they are telling you that the customer thinks you are wasting their time.

Positioning comes from defining value relative to your competition, the status quo, and customer expectations. Positioning drives sales content far more than sales method / training drives content.

Great positioning is not easy, and takes some real insight and hard work to go through. The 5 page $2500 web site, or 10 page bargain for $4500 with some SEO thrown in so long as you write the copy is generally a waste of resources. Note: Writing good copy is difficult. Web Site templating is cheap and easy.

There is a process that works.
The more common process that does not stand up in our hyper competitive world is Create, Market, Sell.

A step is missing. The step that includes the Customer, not you. For inventors and entrepreneurs, a better model would be Create, Define, Market, Sell, where “define” is your value statement. Most value propositions lack clarity and are so devoid of meaning that they distract rather than engage. And to quote Geoff Thull, nobody buys value propositions”.

It always comes back to defining Value as your business sees it - as you want your prospects and customers to see it. Then of course delivering it in a way that can be benchmarked against expectations. To have a chance at successfully positioning your Offers, you need to first clarify your definition of Value, Who its for, How its packaged, and your Channel of delivering that value.

The next time you visit a web site, or even your own, after review, try saying So What after each self centred product focus statement or claim. You might have nailed it and like how it sounds, however if you’d like a second opinion or outside perspective, maybe we can help.

Marketing is a macro activity, designed to attract broad favourable attention. Sales is a micro activity, designed to narrowly engage and favourably influence thereafter. Don't conflate them.


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