Increasing market share using product value: 5 top tips
Wondering how to gain market share? Look back to your current product value proposition. Does it reflect where your brand is, and is it determined with the qualities of your target audience? Increasing product value doesn't have to be difficult, but it takes some critical thinking and understanding of what makes a good customer experience. We’ve shared 5 top tactics on how to market a product with value in mind, all without having to tinker with your overall strategy.
1. Product functionality is key
This one might seem obvious, but product value is the strongest driver of the value of a company. If you aren’t selling something that meets your customers’ needs, then your customers obviously won’t be willing to pay anything, let alone be won over by a prestige pricing plan. On the other hand, if your product benefits relieve all of your customers’ headaches, then they’ll be willing to pay just about any amount you ask. In general, the more pain points you can solve with your product, the stickier your product. Remember to check your ego in the process. A product manager or marketer's favorite feature may not be your customers.
When is it time to refocus your value marketing strategy?
Not seeing the scale of leads you’d hoped for, or being underwhelmed by your retention figures can leave you at odds with your entire offering. If you feel as though you've explored every other aspect of your business, it might be time to look inward. Talk to a few customers and make sure your product development roadmap has the goal of solving a real problem. A great way to increase your price is to add useful product features. Just make sure they're actually useful, not adding additional obscurity or friction.
2. Prioritize customer relationships
The second most important driver of customer valuations is customer tastes and preferences. Remember when GI Joe and Barbie dolls were all the rage when you were young? Now think about how much you would pay for them today. The product remains fundamentally the same, but customers value the tiny fantasy figurines less today because the tastes in entertainment have matured.
Similarly, realize that no matter what you're selling, taste and preferences are affected by time and "the herd." If you're a tastemaker and can get the herd to swarm your enterprise software solutions, then the perceived value of your product will rise as you gain more and more social proof and word of mouth spread. Yet, if you haven't maintained your level of clout, your brand can begin eroding into a generally negative perception, plummeting the value of your product.
Control the voice and brand of your product, maintain consistency, and ensure you align your target customer personas with where you want to be in the market. Sometimes it's ok to be the market leader for "discount" products and other times you want to guarantee you're the Ferrari. Either way, tastes, and preferences play a huge role in how your product is perceived in your target market, and a great team has the ability to raise the value of your product dramatically.
If you don’t believe us, just look at Apple and the iPod. Steve Jobs and company did not invent the ability to play MP3s on a device, but they blazed trails by ensuring the product was perceived as a luxury accessory. Through brilliant marketing, the iPod eventually came down in affordability to the masses to the point that Apple's market penetration is obscenely high, but somehow they built a very successful product that is still viewed as a luxurious good.
3. Target customers by income
Surprisingly, you can influence the salary of your customers. Well, indirectly, and we don't mean by giving them discounts. Instead, adjust your customers’ income centers on either going upstream or downstream with your product. Countless products have come to market centered on one type of customer in a particular income bracket and quickly shifted to another. Make sure you're identifying key demographics concerning your customers and that your personas are quantified and aligned — this will ensure your product value points resonate with your audience.
4. Use price comparisons to your advantage
No matter your product, customers will always compare the price to something, and this is exactly where your value marketing strategy will prove its value. Maybe there's a direct comparison, like the dozens of brand-name and generic cereals in a supermarket, or maybe there's an indirect one, like a salesperson comparing the cost of a revolutionary new software application to a similar type of purchase she's made in the past. Either way, a comparison occurs; the thought is human nature.
Typically, the more options that exist (both direct and indirect) the lower the willingness to pay, as different choices eat at your possibility of making a sale. Yet, this concept is easily used as a competitive advantage. Understand your unique product value proposition, whether it's your "organic" products, customer service, or even how you're solving the same problem, but in a 10X more elegant manner (look at Apple from above). Competition is something to be relished, not feared, and your product value should encompass this principle.
Of course, you do need to conduct detailed market research to avoid dropping down the rabbit hole too far. Don't differentiate your new product so much that you completely box yourself out of the market. Similarly, don't become so similar to a competitor that you can't carve out your own market. Find a product-market fit that works specifically for what your product value provides. Establish a healthy balance that perfectly aligns your customers to your offerings, and ultimately your price point.
5. Give customers the urgency to purchase
Whether with plane tickets, groceries, or even clothing, we've all been in a situation where we've thought about just waiting one more week to see if prices go down. Of course, prices could go up, but unless we absolutely need the item, we're more inclined to take the risk. Your customers are doing the same thing, no matter the obscurity of what you're selling.
Now, I know one of the first reactions might be, "Well, let's keep the sales and discounts going," and yes, that is a possibility. Yet, discounts are awful for most types of transactions (retail excluded, sort of) if done incorrectly and too often. The best ones are discrete, expire, and have some level of predictability. Think Herman Miller who, like clockwork, has a sale twice per year and that's it, or even many luxury brands that never go on sale. These types of promotions (or lack thereof) are apparent and predictable, controlling customer expectation and perception.
Pragmatically, we suggest taking a look at what your customer expects and understanding how to fit within their perceptions of the purchasing process. Most retailers will need discounts. Software companies can employ a strategy of regular sales that coincide with price increases, or even make a policy that bans discounts. You simply need to make sure the strategy is consistent. After all, if you announce that you’re hiking up your prices in a few months, but are grandfathering in old plans, customers who are on the fence about buying your product today will be much more likely to pull the trigger. They’ll think that the future price of your product represents its future value, and will subsequently want to buy in at the lowest price they can.