Cheap Crap Isn't Value.

Pushing revenue growth like a mid-block, sweaty-summer yard-sale party isn't the secret to creating sustainable business growth.  It isn't creating value.

Over the last seven decades, businesses have  tried just about everything to get noticed -- from editorials to magazine articles to coupons, "blowout weekends", flash sales, QR codes, and now discount services like Living Social and Groupon.

And all to create a feeling among buyers that they are getting extraordinary value.

It's artificial fluff.

Because it's just cheap crap sold in a Maserati paint job.

It's usually value created with short-term pricing changes.  Or at best a misguided sense of exclusivity or elitism.

And it's crippling our business potential.

As quickly as businesses have evolved to understand the need for value, the idea of how to create that value has become even more mysterious.

More confused and frustrating.

It's painfully clear in our results.

Consumers take less interest in special deals. And shop owners see significantly less return-on-investment from their failing attempts at creating value.

Which begs the question: "Do we even know how to create value?"

Do we know what value is?

It begs explanation.

"The hardest part about creating value is understanding that it's not you that decides if it's valuable or not."

Your opinion doesn't matter.

And perhaps that's where our problems with creating value have spiraled out of control.

As the economy continues to spiral downward, we've shifted our focus away from the people we serve to the failure we hope to avoid.

We've become consumed with surviving.  And it's made us think we can sell crap and call it valuable.

It has no value.

"It isn't valuable. It's selfishness thinly disguised as discerning business strategy."

Value is something all together different.

It's a combination of key factors that all contribute to a feeling of delight.

Here's a quick roadmap to those factors.  To the key ingredients in creating value:

  • V = Validates unspoken concerns -- Value provides a solution to a deeply personal problem that we are afraid to admit.  It's not just the "skin deep" reasons that we try to use in public.  Real value solves confidence problems, love problems, money problems -- the gritty nasty side of life buyers try to pretend isn't there.  Discounts and  artificial pricing don't fix those problems.
  • A = Actionable opportunity  -- Value is an activity you can grab right now.  It isn't just an idea.  It's an opportunity that can be taken advantage of when you hear about it.  It does no good to talk up  a super-duper fantastical experience and then demand that buyers wait to start doing anything about it.  Less hype.  More happening.
  • L = Leverages social approval -- Value is something that you can be proud of.  It's something that you can share with your friends and not be be ashamed of.  It's an opportunity where you gain social standing by being the first to spot it.  If buyers can't convince their friends it's a good deal then the deal probably isn't good enough.  Do better.
  • U = Understated corporate presence -- Value is personal not professional.  So less is more.  Buyers want to feel like they are getting a good deal -- not that they are pulling a  "fast one".  You can drive increased customer loyalty by down-playing the grandiose nature of your offer -- even if it significant.  Connecting with people as a person yourself is a better strategy.
  • E = Emotionally targeted message -- Value is emotional not logical.  Even if the discount actually is the outrageous ratio you have listed on the sticker, buyers don't give a hoot.  The deal is only as good as it feels  like it is.  Which is why you have to start with the emotions of the buyer.  Make people feel special and you won't have to drop your price so much

Creating value is tough.

One big reason behind that is because it's not about you.  It's about the other guy.

And that means less control for us.  Less certainty.

And hopefully less crap.

No one really wants cheap in the first place.