One of the biggest opportunities for many industrial manufacturing and engineering companies is rediscovering their unique customer value proposition. As markets mature, and competitors battle it out for greater market share and profits, it is not uncommon for these companies to converge on an almost identical market offer.
Unfortunately, this situation often results in price being the last remaining differentiator in the minds of the customers. Eventually, prices are driven down, margins decrease, and the company is forced to focus on cost-cutting and being more efficient to maintain profit growth. Sound familiar?
But what if these industrial manufacturing and engineering companies could demonstrate the unique value they create in the minds of their customers? Every company has something unique that creates value for their customers; otherwise they would not be in business. It’s just a matter of uncovering what these differences are, and then telling their customers about them in a simple and consistent way.
Once a company can prove how they help their customers in ways the competition cannot, it is highly likely these customers will pay more for the company’s product or service.
For instance, if your company’s current value proposition looks something like this:
‘A leading (insert your industry) company that provides solutions for customers in (insert your customers’ market sectors)’
Then it is time to change it.
Customers are overwhelmed with companies that want to offer them ‘solutions’. Make your company stand out, promise the customer something different, and consistently deliver the value expected, and your company will be in a stronger position to get a price premium for its products and services.
Here are five steps to help you get started in rediscovering your unique customer value proposition.
1. Determine your company’s core competency….. from the customer’s perspective
A core competency is usually a combination of company strengths that, when combined, is difficult for competitors to duplicate. This should not be a statement along the lines of ‘XYZ Company supplies widgets’, or ‘ABC Company provides (insert capability) services’. Rather it should define ‘what you do’ by the benefits your customers receive from using your product or service. A good place to start is to ask your customers – ‘what is the single greatest benefit you receive from purchasing our product or service’?
Example: Lighthouse Marketing is in the business of helping time poor, resource constrained companies increase sales.
2. Define your primary target market
Do not try and be all things to all people. What types of customers will benefit most from your company’s core competency, and which of these customer segments offer the greatest potential for profitable sales growth? These customers will be your primary target market, and where the majority of your company’s marketing resources and focus should be directed.
Example: Industrial manufacturing and engineering companies are Lighthouse Marketing’s primary target market.
3. Identify how your company is different – your brand positioning
This is your unique promise to the customer. Your company’s brand position is what customers tell others after doing business with you. It’s the emotional way customers talk about your brand, and it’s the one thing that your company is best known.
Example: Lighthouse Marketing is known for strategic industrial marketing support.
4. Write your unique customer value proposition
Using the information from the first three steps, this is where you summarise your unique customer value proposition. It should be 1 – 2 sentences long, and contain the following elements: a) your core competency – what you do; b) your primary target market – whom you are for; and c) your brand promise – how you are different.
Example: Lighthouse Marketing helps time poor, resource constrained industrial manufacturing and engineering companies increase sales. We do this by developing marketing strategies that acquire, grow and retain customers in a simple and reliable way.
5. Communicate your unique customer value proposition externally with customers, as well as internally with employees.
Get salespeople involved in creating your unique customer value proposition, and make sure they have a clear understanding how to communicate it with their customers. Update your marketing and sales tools with your new customer value proposition, giving priority to the marketing materials the customer views most, such as websites, proposals, tenders, brochures, and case studies.
Deliver on your promise, and pretty soon, your company will establish a unique customer value proposition….one which your target customers will value more than the run-of-the-mill ‘solutions’ offered by your competitors.