“People don’t buy from websites, people buy from people.” How many brands have this thought in mind when creating their content marketing strategies or websites? MECLABS, the world’s largest independent research lab focused exclusively on marketing and sales, recently visited Pace for a two-day training course about this fundamental principle of how to get consumers to say yes.
Their argument was simple: you can’t optimize a website, you have to optimize thought sequences. To do this, your brand’s website must enter into a conversation with the consumer. This is where content marketing comes into play. Then you must guide the conversation toward a value. Let’s take a look at the learnings from MECLABS.
Determining the Value of Your Brand
The key to MECLABs teachings was the value proposition:
If I am your ideal prospect, why should I buy from you rather than from your competitors?
You are fundamentally answering a first-person question posed in the mind of your customers. It always implies a “because” answer. This question must answer what differentiates you from your competitors. In at least one way, you must have an “only” factor.
Most importantly, the value proposition must be framed with customer logic rather than company logic. Customer logic demands an obvious connection between the company, its various products, and its different prospect.
A company that is immersed in their brand and works with it on a day-to-day basis sees their messages differently than their consumers. The company knows the backstory and marketing goals behind the message. Now, take a step back. When we strip away this knowledge, the consumer is left with much less to understand the brand’s story. This is how your brand should approach messaging.
Key Principles of the Value Proposition Spectrum
The marketing industry looks at various angles when promoting a service or item in marketing space. This is why there are three levels to the value proposition spectrum:
- Prospect (focus on the consumer)
Why should prospect A buy from you rather than any of your competitors?
- Product (focus on the merchandise)
Why should prospect A buy this product rather than any other competitors?
- Process (focus on the action)
Why should prospect A click this PPC ad rather than any other PPC ad?
The deeper your value proposition’s focus, the more meaningful your marketing message will become. All three principals of the above spectrum twist the framework of a marketing message and cause the brand to look at itself from the viewpoint of the consumer. What makes my brand better? What makes my product superior? What makes actions with my brand more valuable?
Cognitive Conclusions of the Consumer
Once a value prospect has been constructed through a consumers’ mindset, we can determine the force behind that statement. Cognitive conclusions of the consumer are controlled by the force and acceptance behind the value proposition.
Elements of Value
– Appeal: I want this
– Exclusivity: I can only get this from you
An appealing offer without exclusivity has its force diluted by the competing options. An exclusive offer without appeal has its force undermined by the lack of attraction.
Elements of Acceptance
– Clarity: I understand this
– Credibility: I believe this
The aim of the marketer is value accepted. Value accepted is contingent upon value believed. Value believed is contingent upon value perceived or understood.
We can take credibility a step further. How do you intensify the credibility of your claim? There are three techniques to add trust to your message:
– Specification: substitute general descriptions with specific facts
– Quantification: quantify your claims
– Verification: let someone else do the bragging
A consumer is much more likely to take an action with a company or brand if harmony is achieved amongst appeal, exclusivity, clarity and credibility. When one of the above elements is missing from the message, the consumer could quickly click away from your site and find a competitors’ website that successfully fills these cognitive conclusions.
Finding Your “Only” Factor
Take a look at your brand and try to write a value proposition. Look at it through the eyes of your consumer. What makes your brand exclusive? Why would your service or product appeal to your target audience? It is essential to find your “only” factor! When you dissect your brand’s message (or value proposition), you quickly see the weaknesses in your strategy.
What are your thoughts on the teachings of MECLABS? Share your experiences or dilemmas with determining a brand’s “only” factor in the comments below.