How do you define Customer Value?

I’ve referred to customer value in several of my previous blog posts. The key point being that marketing should always clearly articulate the value of the product/service/solution within the customer’s context.

But what does ‘value’ within a customer context really mean and how do you define it? James Womack & Daniel Jones who popularized the Lean Enterprise business approach, define 6 attributes of customer value in their book ‘Lean Solutions: How Companies and Customers Can Create Value and Wealth Together’. Because these attributes of customer value are defined from the customer’s perspective, they can provide valuable insights for how we should position, message and market our products/services/solutions.

The 6 attributes of customer value defined by Womack & Jones along with my marketing perspective interpretations are:

  1. Solve my problem completely – define exactly what customer challenges or opportunities your product/service/solution addresses, the extent to which it does, how it does it and how it works with other solutions. Don’t leave the customer in doubt or searching for additional information.
  2. Don't waste my time – get to the point and don’t make the customer have to do things you want in order to get the information they want. Remember that their buying process takes precedence over your marketing or sales process – they’ll go somewhere else if you waste their time by making them jump through hoops to get information.
  3. Provide exactly what I want – your product/service/solution should have packaging flexibility according to how customers want to buy, not how you want to sell. Make it easy for customers to buy just what they want right now – they’ll be more inclined to buy more subsequently.
  4. Deliver value where I want it – clearly define at what point(s) in the customer’s business value stream your product/service/solution delivers value. Overly broad or vague claims of applicability and functionality don’t connect with specific customer requirements or how the customer envisions a solution that would benefit their business.
  5. Supply value when I want it – not all your prospective customers are ready buy at the same time and definitely not immediately. The important issue here is to gear your marketing programs to the various time frames your prospective customers have for buying and helping them reach that point.
  6. Reduce the number of decisions I must make to solve my problems – business customers buy something to solve a problem or pursue an opportunity. Offering too many choices, options and alternatives only makes things more complicated for customers to make a buying decision. Communicate with prospective buyers in their context and avoid unnecessary complications or decisions they need to make.
Remember that the interpretations for each attribute are just my views – think about how you would interpret these attributes to your circumstances.

“Value can only be defined by the ultimate customer’ – James Womack & Daniel Jones

Understanding and defining customer value is a key part of being outside-in as discussed in an earlier post. Considering these 6 attributes of customer value during our various marketing processes should help us connect more effectively with prospective buyers.

Your comments are always welcome.
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