People don’t buy for the value you create. They buy for the value they ‘perceive‘.
Marketing is defined by the American Marketing Association as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large”.
In short, marketing is the art of creating perceptions and selling dreams.
Sounds like a total rip off doesn’t it? lol
You could be forgiven for thinking that way, unless you’re an entrepreneur. That’s when you know what I’m talking about because people don’t buy from you for the value you create, they buy for the value they perceive you create for them.
Take the example of Buffr. Heard of it? The first app ever to let people schedule their tweets?
Buffer was an idea so new for an audience so ‘narrow’ that the guys who created thought it would be a better idea to test the waters for the idea before they had even built it.
See here’s the thing, as an entrepreneur you know how to get something done. You know how long it will take and what it will take to build something. However, the predicament every entrepreneur is caught up is if it will be profitable.
Will it solve a pain point and create a tangible value for the end consumer?
Simple thing guys. Go ask them!
That’s what they guys at buffer did. They launched an MVP campaign for the idea to test out its relevance and profitability. If you guys aren’t familiar with what an MVP is, please read about it here.
The idea was simple. First, you create a landing page to collect signups for the product. Second, you figure out if people would be comfortable paying for the value provided by such a product.
Third, you schedule a release date, build the product and release it!
Obviously, a lot of course corrections and improvements, enhancements, tweaks etc. would need to be made in order to create the exact product the consumer wanted but in this example, by appealing to the perceived value people saw in the product, you ensured that you didn’t have to create a complete product before going out and selling it!
Amazing don’t you think?
Once again, let’s take the example of NEXT computers by Steve Jobs. I know! I can’t get enough of Steve. Can’t help it, the guy was way ahead of his time as an entrepreneur in all of the dimensions an entrepreneur can hope to expand in.
Next was bought by Apple not for the value it was immediately generating at that point in time but for the value everyone perceived it would generate. Steve barely had the exhibition prototype up and running and virtually no idea how the actual machines would be built to cater to his standards and vision of modern computing. However, there were 2 things that helped him create this perception of value:
- He was Steve Jobs and had a cult following. Just having his name attached to a computer company meant there was a certain section of society that knew he was up to something better having left Apple.
- Apple innovation had slumped and they knew the thinking guy was out there thinking up something great and building it. They could see that he had created something that he was actively out selling and desperately wanted in. Simply because they didn’t have the right answer for ‘What NEXT?‘
Let that sink in for a minute.
Let’s move on to another example that never ceases to amaze me.
Multi level marketing!
Some call it a scam some call it genuine products sans fancy marketing but for most MLM represents a dream that everyone is so desperate to turn into a reality:
MLM companies sell their products by selling the dream of financial independence. The very people who are the consumers are the people who buy these products not for their tangible value but the intangible value that buying these products and then selling them is the road to financial independence!
Don’t get me wrong, we have all used some or the other product offering from one of these MLM companies at some point in time and most of them are good. They have to be because word of mouth is the essential commodity that they’re selling!
So if you’re an entrepreneur who is having trouble getting business, it’s because you don’t realise, that the value you are creating is not necessarily the value that will sell the product, service or idea. What will sell it is the perceived value.
How do you cater to that? Well, you sell, sell, sell and sell some more.
Then you iterate, iterate and iterate some more.
Finally, you’ll hit a sweet spot where the value you’re creating with your offering will marry the end consumer’s perceived values. Just bear in mind and i discussed this in my previous post in this series, your personal values should always be in alignment with the primary value being generated through your offering.
This is because, early adopters can see through your BS. No kidding!
Early adopters can be driven to buy based on the ‘perceived value’ but they can’t be driven to remain loyal and get other people on board to create a trend if your story seems BS to them.
As an Entrepreneur, you are looking to build a trend because you’re the pioneer, the ‘trend setter’. If you fail to create a trend, someone else will just take what you’ve built badly, improve it and sell it to the world.
This is also the biggest reason today that most successful entrepreneurs are great ‘influencers’ in the market. The proof is in the pudding guys!
Take the example of a dude I have a man crush on right now:
Here’s a man who runs a digital marketing company and who is probably a pioneer in social media influencing right now.
What’s he doing? He’s doing him. It’s that simple!
The proof is in the pudding. If you’re a digital media specialist leveraging digital media to grow your digital presence as an influencer, the value your’re selling to people is simply this:
” I am doing it. This is how I do it. This is how it’s done.”
The value he is selling is getting on top of digital media influencing. The perception of that value is “Damn I can be like him if I do it like this.”
So guys just remember, you can build a nuclear reactor or a space ship in your garage bu the world will never know unless you show them!
By the way, this really happened. Here’s a dude who was actually building a nuclear reactor in his garage. I dunno, trying to become like Iron Man or something…
He only got found out when he began to dismantle the reactor after he had made the whole neighborhood radioactive!
Wow! Proves a point doesn’t it? You could be doing something beyond extraordinary in your office cubicle this very moment, in your garage, on your old laptop; writing a masterpiece on Evernote on your smartphone… the world will NEVER know it.
The bottom line is that ‘They’ will NEVER know it until you go out there and SHOW it.
So having a great idea, product, service and building it is only 50% of the job. The remaining 50% is actively engaging people to look at it, interact with it and come on board for the perceived value of the idea. In short, SELL.
As always, a couple of videos to help you tune into the mindset of selling your idea and bringing more people on board is included below.
See you tomorrow for post 4/7 of this series. Yeah and if you want to watch the entrepreneurship videos and motivational content I post and create, you can follow my facebook page. See you tomorrow!