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How do we define value and how can we ensure we create added value to our customers?

In marketing we always talk about adding value. With the focus these days on customer experience and with businesses having to be customer centric, it’s important that we are able to understand what we actually mean by value and what the customer sees as valuable to them.

What is added value?

First off – it’s not always about money, or discounts. Of course, these do add value but they are far from the only way to add to a customer experience and sometimes won’t have the desired effect. Think about it, if you’ve had a bad experience as a customer – maybe a product hasn’t been delivered on time – a discount on a future purchase may not be that well received. Perhaps a simple message explaining the issue and providing an accurate update on the situation (and an apology) would be more valuable to you as a customer at that moment of time.

Having said that, offering a discount or voucher will probably give your communications greater clout in certain circumstances. The key is knowing when what is more suitable.  For example, in a recent Experian survey on personalisation we asked consumers how they felt about brands using their personal data to tailor their marketing. One of the most telling insights was that consumers were much more accepting of personalised communications on their birthdays if that data was used to add value and provide a benefit.

Value

That’s a 22% increase in people finding it acceptable to be contacted on their birthday if the message offers them a birthday discount. However, birthdays are much more associated with gifts and presents – so perhaps are more suited to a gift of tangible value.

Value

The definition of value differs depending on the situation the customer is in – what factors are affecting their experience at that point.

Personalisation and added value

In that same survey on personalisation we asked people for the most acceptable uses of their personal data and the top responses were all instances of brands providing value to customers – but the definition of value differed depending on the customer’s situation.

Other results included 27% of respondents being happy for their data to be used to provide information on products similar to past purchases and 21% saying they’d be happy for their data to be used for prompts for items that may need to be purchased on a regular basis. Clearly customers see these as valuable.

So what is value? In order to answer that question we have drawn up the below characteristics of value. We consider all of these are justifications for getting in touch. If you find yourself writing or building something that does not comprehensively tick AT LEAST ONE of these boxes then stop, you’re not adding value and you need to rethink why you’re doing it.

Value

Understanding your customer is the key to adding value

In order to apply the correct value to the correct customer at the correct time you need to have a thorough understanding of your customers and a flexible approach to interacting with them. The ability to do that relies on having accurate data and having that data compiled so that you have a complete and robust view of each customer, plus the necessary tools and systems in place to implement your messages.

You need to know your customers in order to add the relevant definition of value to improve their customer journey and experience.   You should always look to add value because if you’re not, all you’re really doing is talking about yourself.

Even your most loyal and valuable customer doesn’t want to hear you talking about yourself. They want to hear about themselves and all the great stuff they can have, do or get involved in.

Experian Marketing Services is a leading global provider of consumer insights, targeting, data quality and cross-channel marketing. Through The Experian Marketing Suite’s  Identity Manager, Intelligence Manager and Interactions Manager, we help organisations intelligently interact with today’s empowered and hyper-connected consumers.

By helping marketers identify their best customers, find more of them, and then coordinate seamless and intelligent interactions across the most appropriate channels, Experian Marketing Services’ clients can deepen customer loyalty, strengthen brand advocacy and maximise profits.

This article is about: Marketing, personalisation, Value