While the true value of your offer is critical, if you don’t optimize the perceived value of that offer, that true value is meaningless from a marketing perspective.
Take our MarketingExperiments Web clinics, for example. I’m not going to point any fingers, but there are a lot of bad marketing webinars out there that aren’t worth your time. Someone throws a few sales slides together the day before, pushes their product really hard in the beginning, and then drones through 60 minutes of slides.
However, we invest a lot of time and resources in our Web clinics — effort and value added to each webinar that isn’t readily apparent on the invitation landing page or in the invite email.
In other words, they have hidden value
We wanted to reveal some of that hidden value, so we produced the below video …
Now, as a MarketingExperiments blog reader, I’m letting you in pretty early on in the process. Our editorial wunderkind, Paul Cheney, is literally creating the landing page as I’m writing this blog post, so I don’t have results to share yet.
I’ll get to our plans in just a minute, but let’s first talk about your product’s hidden value …
How do I know if I have hidden value?
Every offer, product and even call-to-action button on a page has some level of hidden value. Your customers never know the exact value of what will happen when they take the action you have called them to.
But, with some products, the value is more hidden than others. To wit … in Customer-centric Marketing: Tap into your culture to differentiate from the competition, I discussed a hypothetical artisan ketchup handmade by Franciscan monks from heritage tomatoes grown from seeds originally planted by Leonardo da Vinci himself (this ketchup gets more impressive and obscure every time I mention it).
For this example product, there is an immense amount of hidden value. No one can possibly look at your hypothetical monk-made red goop in a clear bottle on the shelf and see any more value than the red goop made in a factory in China in the clear bottle next to it.
Which is why bottles aren’t clear
Hence, the birth of branding. In the pre-branding world, everything was a commodity. People bought ketchup. Just ketchup. Today, people buy Heinz ketchup (or, in your case, Ketchupio del Monaco … nice name you came up with there).
Branding’s problem is it doesn’t always focus on hidden value because it doesn’t always focus on the customer (and too often it relies on false value).
“The problem with the notion of ‘Brand Promise’ is that it places the origin on the sender rather than the receiver,” said Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, in a recent content meeting. “The fact that you tell me that I can trust you (i.e., a promise) does not mean that I actually trust them.”
Flint went on to say, “We need a notion of brand that starts with the receiver, and that takes the form of an expectation as opposed to the form of a promise. … Brand works better when we understand that it is not about making a claim, but helping a consumer arrive at a conclusion. People who arrive at a conclusion on their own will fight for that conclusion; people who are being forced to accept a claim will fight against it.”
So back to hidden value.
We could have just made a landing page that said, “World’s best marketing webinars.”
But you wouldn’t have believed that, would you? Heck, I’m knee deep in working on these Web clinics myself and I didn’t believe it either.
So, we created a video to show you how we put them together. To uncover some of the hidden value you wouldn’t be able to see in a simple webinar invite, but yet let you arrive at your own conclusion.
Of course, as I said, I’m letting you in on a work in progress. The video is not perfect. I worry that it’s slightly self indulgent. And it’s a little on the long side … although, on the landing page we create to describe our Web clinics, we don’t expect most people to watch the entire thing. Just enough of the video to tip the Value Exchange Fulcrum as much as necessary for the marketing practitioner to see that the value in attending a MarketingExperiments Web clinic outweighs the expense.
Because even though these Web clinics have no monetary cost, we know that each marketer is paying us with an hour of their time, an extremely precious commodity. Or as Peter Drucker said, “Within limits we can substitute one resource for another, copper for aluminum, for instance. But time is totally irreplaceable.”
So take a look at your products, your offers, even your call-to-action buttons. Are you previewing the hidden value? And do you do it in an organic way to let your visitors come to their own conclusions, or are you trying to cram a brand promise down their throat?
How to Increase Conversion in 2012: The last 20,000 hours of marketing research distilled into 60 minutes – Our next free Web clinic, Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011, 4:00-5:00 pm EST
Do You Have the Right Value Proposition? – Web clinic replay