No matter what business you’re in, your company is facing a dynamic economy right now. One that compels you to make a decision about your marketing:
Should you go with a standard transactional strategy or focus more on a relational one?
While transactional marketing focuses on the sales process and emphasizes closing the sale, relational or values-based marketing helps you build a relationship with your customers so they feel loyal to you, returning again and again to make purchases.
Many businesses try to find a middle ground between the two. Yet, according to the Marketers Handbook to Value-Based Differentiation, from software development company DecisionLink, leveraging your company’s value potential “is the only initiative that reaches throughout the entire buyer journey to create a thread of value that produces incredible results for the business.”
Truth is, customers are tired of being sold all the time and are tuning out. So the key here is creating differentiation for your selling messages while exceeding customer expectations. Consider this quote:
“More and more, companies are basing their branding and marketing strategies on a set of particular beliefs, challenges, or outcomes that they are uniquely positioned to help their customer overcome. This connection, built on value delivery, is an outward-focused strategy that goes far beyond what a company sells. Value marketing is meant to be powered by authenticity and generating the highest possible benefit for both a buyer and a provider. Companies that understand the needs of their customers and can tie the unique benefits and economic value that they can provide to help are destined to succeed.”
Compelling stuff, indeed.
The Four Values of Relational Marketing
Marketing that creates value for your customers – providing unique solutions based on their needs and desires, establishing trust with them, and valuing their loyalty in return – enables you to interact with them in a more meaningful way. When you strive to understand how they interpret value and what it does for them, you can achieve improved outcomes, such as making a sale that also feels good, for both of you.
To do this, keep these four different values of relational marketing in mind.
- Functional Value – How do your products and services perform for customers?
- Economic Value – Does the performance of your products and services live up to the cost?
- Social Value – How does owning your products and services help customers better connect with their peers?
- Psychological Value – Do your products and services give customers that feel-good factor of self-expression?
Values-Based Marketing From Your Customer’s Point of View
Today, many customers care about your company’s values and ethics as much as the quality of your products and services. So if you appeal to their values and align them with your own in your messaging, you’re on the right track.
In addition, you want to keep your customers’ perceived value of your company top of mind, which is how they evaluate your products, services, culture, and values based on how they meet their expectations. Stay focused on how your company is better than all the other options available to them.
So, what do customers think of relational marketing? What do they look for in your values-based messaging? Things like this:
- A clearly communicated value system they can relate to
- A culture that aligns with their own experience
- Appealing solutions that help them achieve life goals
- A genuine position statement that speaks to what your company believes
- Proof of action that your company delivers on promises
- A willingness to share your expertise in fresh and exciting ways
- Trustworthy and meaningful engagements, interactions, and agreements with company personnel
- Authentic messages that reflect your company's mission and values
- Something that compels them to advocate for your brand through word of mouth
7 Ways to Make Values-Based Marketing a Reality for Your Company
- Offer Help
Instead of trying to sell them something, offer customers your help. Prove to them that they are your main focus. You want to see them succeed. How can they benefit from your help?
Generate shareable content that focuses on what is important to your audience, such as:
- Video tutorials
- In-depth blog articles
- Engaging social media posts
- Appeal to Customers’ FOMO
Fear Of Missing Out is real. And a real motivator for people to learn more about whatever they don’t want to miss. Customers often have a big interest in how your company works. Feed their need with fun content that gives them an exclusive look into your company’s inner workings. Insider stories like a day in the life, customer success features, and interviews with leaders, inventors, and tech employees can help establish an emotional connection with your audience. Customer case studies, video testimonials, written reviews, well-designed graphics, infographic posters, and more offer your customers something to share with others about their relationship with your company.
- Elevate Your Customer Service
Wherever your customer service experience stands right now, make it better. It’s possible. Going above and beyond is a fluid thing that will grow with a values-based focus on your customers’ needs, like feeling heard. Let them know you are always actively looking for solutions to their challenges, and that you’re always actively looking to exceed their expectations.
- Hone Your Target Audience in New Ways
It can be an eye-opening experience for you to define who your products and services are not designed to please. Once you understand this non-audience, it gets easier to focus on the wants and needs of your real audience, align your value propositions to their wants and needs, and maybe even create new products and services for them. You can stop wasting effort on customers who will never hear you or value what you have to offer.
- Highlight Outcomes First
What do you deliver for your customers? That’s what you want to “sell” to them. Focus your marketing messages on the benefits of your products and services, and you won’t have to be confined to the features. Creating stories of aspirational experiences goes a long way to pique a person’s wild imagination of what’s possible.
- Tell Value-Based Stories
According to HubSpot, value-based stories:
- Establish your credibility by focusing on your customer and their issues.
- Emphasize the knowledge you can share with your customer.
- Illustrate how your company is relevant to your customer.
- Feature active listening and deep insight to get and keep your customer engaged.
- Articulate a compelling value proposition through proven successes with measurable outcomes that your customer can relate to.
- Avoid discussing your company’s capabilities, products, or services.
- Use Personas
Create an ideal customer persona with whom your message resonates the most. Then create your stories around the wants and needs of your ideal customer's persona. This can help you and your sales department target the right decision-maker and improve your chances of making a good sale.