It was while enjoying a series of single malt whiskies, in the Three Crowns Pub, that I was reminded of a marketing lesson which too many businesses are missing in this new web enabled, digital world.
On finishing our drinks, I asked my brother if he wanted another round. After agreeing to have ‘one more for the road’, I duly went to the bar and ordered another couple of doubles of Glenlivet. The price I was charged would have made the bottle of Glenlivet just over £100. Yet it is widely available to buy for around £30 – £35.
So why spend so much extra? I could have easily bought a bottle of Glenlivet in my local supermarket and sat at home with my brother. The drink would have been of equal quality.
The point is that the value was not in ‘what’ this pub supplied, i.e., the drink. There are a number of other establishments that sell the same product, as well as a multitude of ways I could have purchased the whisky, many of which would have been much more cost effective.
Rather, the value was in ‘how’ the pub delivered the product. In supplying pleasant surroundings, a comfortable place to sit, generating a good atmosphere, providing a log fire and showing the football, the pub created an experience which was bigger than just the quality whisky. The totality of the experience made the cost of the product acceptable at that specific moment in time.
Moreover, although this particular pub’s main product is the beverages it supplies, the landlord had thought about other items a customer may want during their visit. A number of snacks including crisps, nuts and bowls of chips were available. There was also a quiz machine to play. OK, this is pretty standard inventory for a pub, so why the big deal?
Whether you are a business to business focused company, or a business supplying consumers, is irrelevant. The digital economy has seen the increasing commoditisation of products and services. We are all now working in the ‘experience economy’. Of course, products and services have to be delivered to a high standard in order to compete. However, today that is just the price of entry into any particular market.
The ‘value ‘ for the customer is no longer in ‘what’ you do. Your clients will, more than likely, have a multitude of options from which to choose, of which you will be just one. The value is rather in ‘how’ you deliver the product or service. It is the experience which will differentiate your business. It is also the experience which is more likely to be talked about, shared and, in turn, generate referrals.
Moreover, ‘what’ you deliver is likely to be the same as a number of other suppliers. This being the case, this is not where the value lies in your business. Rather, the most precious resource today is people’s attention. The ‘value’, therefore, in your business is much more likely to reside in the data and the customers you supply.
In other words, the real worth of your business is in the engagement and trust you have with your client base. The more you can deepen this, the more valuable your business becomes. Being able to provide added value to ‘ the experience’ enables an organisation to earn more money while creating more engagement and value for the customer.
Understanding the challenges your customers come to you to solve, and the contexts in which these occur, will enable you to create new offerings and obtain a greater share of a customer’s wallet. It means being truly ‘customer centric’ and understanding what else a customer may require in the situation in which they engage with your business. In other words, what is the equivalent of your crisps and nuts?
When jazz musicians Melvin “Sy” Oliver and James “Trummy” Young wrote the song ‘T’ain’t What You Do (It’s The Way That You Do It) in the 1930’s, little did they know they would be providing the perfect comment on marketing in the digital economy. Ultimately, ‘what’ you do allows you to exist, ‘how’ you do it enables you to compete and differentiate. Too many companies focus all their energies on ‘what’ they do, rather than ‘how’ they do it and for ‘whom’ they do it.
Now that is sorted, I am off for a well deserved single malt! Three Crowns anyone?