F.A. Hayek, a great economist, pointed out that in a free market incomes are based not on the basis of merit, but rather on the basis of the value of services rendered. The fact that the individual may have worked hard and to his or her best does not mean that the market will reward him or her with an income reflecting some measurement of his or her industriousness. The income that the worker receives reflects what his employer or the market (consumers) think her/his product or service is worth to them.
So from here, the question is ‘what is value?’ and for all intents and purposes, value is a percept, that is a mental concept that is developed as a consequence of the process of perception. It is a percept. It is a precept because it is absolutely subjective and based upon the eye of the beholder.
What one values highly another considers trivial.
What one values highly another considers trivial. But if a consensus agrees on a value, well then we have ourselves something of worth. So the secret to creating value is to get other people to believe that this is this, and that is that and this concept pretty much explains everything that you and I put worth in, outside of family, life, friends, youth, wisdom something only has value because a consensus has agreed to its value.
Now as it relates to business and work, success depends on the value you can bring or convince, though convincing a value requires that some concrete steps be taken at actually producing something that others will find value in; and the steps to accomplishing that is first to know what the audience wants.
Know the customer’s values and you’ll know how to influence behavior.
So since value is a subjective notion, the question now is how can you increase the perception of value in your customer’s eyes. The answer is to understand your customer and your market i.e., target market. The discerning customer looking for a service or product that you provide has a certain set of values and in order to capture their interest, what is being offered should be in line with those values.
Values are put upon people from upbringing, circumstances, education, and environment and if you can paint a picture of your customer accounting for those variables, then from that understanding you can influence your customer to behave in one way, say, making the purchase now with your store credit card today instead of coming back when they have saved up the money at a later date.
Understand the value mechanics of your target market.
The better you understand the value mechanics of your target market, the more successful the endeavor to sell to them will be. Routinely, businesses that have grown internationally may start to present multiple conflicting values, because their customer in another part of the world has values different from their domestic market, though that’s a different topic.
In writing mainly about growing business, various customer segments isn’t really an issue. Looking at a small business that just starts selling guitars online via an e-commerce system, what are some of the ways that they can increase their value in the customer’s eyes. Let us assume that the typical customer visiting the online store is an intermediate to fairly knowledgeable guitar player, appealing to this customer base would involve firstly tending to 6 core questions.
6 core questions to understanding your customer.
- Who are my customers? Are they men or women, teenagers or adults, high disposable income or low disposable income, etc
- Why would my customer have a need for my offering?
- Where are my customer’s coming from?
- What offerings based from research would appeal to my customer the most?
- When are my customers making decisions, and when are they likely to look for me?
- Lastly by not least, how will my customers interact with me? Are they mobile, tech-savvy, old-fashioned, etc, each of these requires a different type of interaction.
When we extrapolate these questions to a pool of people, then we’ve located the population of our target market. Having accounted for these questions, we then paint a fitting picture of the customer and from there can build out models, triggers, and cues that will influence the behavior to buy.
I am engaged in this line of work every day, so if you need help, please feel free to reach me.