How to Add Value to your E-Business

If marketing is the interface between an organization and the marketplace, the value exchange is the driver of business.

‘Value’. You hear it time and again. Value proposition, value creation, adding value…let me take a moment to just repeat a key point–

Value exchange is the driver of business.

Value can be roughly defined as the advantage that a buyer (or user if there is no transaction) perceives that they gain from you. This could be the perception of worth that a user feels they get from your product (or service or information) minus the price and effort.

In order to create, communicate and deliver value to customers, we need to locate where value can be added or unlocked all the way along the supply chain to the customer and then into after-sales support and customer service.

In this sense, Marketing Departments are, and should be, disappearing because marketing is located in each of its parts: logistics, inputs, business development, operations, communications and customer service, and is the sum of the whole.

Regis McKenna famously wrote that “Marketing is everything and everything is marketing.”

Understand what ‘Value’ means to your customers

In order to deliver value, we must first understand what Value means to your customers. It may not be the price alone. Other factors to research when developing a Customer Persona could include:

  • time
  • ease
  • convenience
  • speed
  • access
  • customization
  • physical contact with a person
  • sense of trust and security

In fact, looking at this list, where do the four Ps of marketing fit? What happened to Product, Price, Place and Promotion? Is this redundant now?

Not really. We just have a broader variety of things to think about.

Products

Products can include information, or a service, anything we can provide in exchange for something of value to us (money, information, an audience).

Pricing

Pricing now far more flexible and complicated than in years past. Products and services may be free (Dropbox, Gmail), or scaled in some way(personal, professional, enterprise), or even time-based (variable pricing for booking of tickets due to demand).

Placement / Distribution

Considerations for E-Business are much broader now. Do we have one central fulfillment centre or a network of regional centres?

Promotion

It is far less acceptable to consumers to be bombarded with email marketing than it is to deluge them with television commercials. This is in part because the media are different. Television is a passive medium, the Internet is an active one. The emphasis is on ‘inbound marketing’ rather than outbound.

Authors Kalyanam and McIntyre believe that a better formula consists of 11 factors to consider.

11 Ingredients to Add a Unique Recipe Value

Product – in all of their guises mentioned above including information, music, audio, eBooks, services, and so on.

Placement- consider affiliates, other supply chain partners

Pricing – free, tiered, subscriber model, micro-payments

Promotion – online ads, sponsor links, email, public relations

Personalisation – customization, individualization, collaborative filtering

Privacy – e.g. state your policy and conformity to the relevant SPAM Act.

Customer Service – FAQ, help desks, Email, Chat rooms.

Community – chat rooms, user ratings, reviews

Website – navigation, ease of use and usefulness, user experience (UX), user interface (UI).

Security – SET, SSL

Sales Promotion – e-coupons, offers, bundling.

Do you find this helpful as an E-Marketer or is the 4 or 7Ps just as effective?

 

Sources:

Kalyanam, K & McIntyre, S. (2002) “The e-marketing mix: A contribution to the e-tailing wars”,

Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 487-499.

McKenna, R (1991), “Marketing is Everything,” Harvard Business Review, January, 1991.