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Personal Value Trumps Business Value

November 5, 2013
Posted by Susan Weissman


For many years, marketers followed the adage of communicating benefits, not features. Tell your customer what’s in it for them. Right? Wrong. We weren’t going far enough. All of the research now tells us that one of the biggest mistakes B2B marketers make is communicating business values (which drives consideration)  without communicating the “personal values” inherent in buying the product or service you’re selling.

So what is the difference? Business values are functional benefits and business outcomes. They speak to your mind,  not your heart. I know we all want to believe we’re making very logical decisions based on data. And yes, we need to check the data and make sure we’re getting the basic characteristics we are looking for. But all the research indicates that even when we are making multi-million dollar decisions, we are making them based on emotions. The emotions can be categorized into three personal values (according to CEB/Motista Survey):  professional benefits (I will look good, smart, maybe I’ll get a promotion); social benefits (everyone is doing it, this is a popular trend, I feel like I’m in the know moving in this direction) and emotional benefits (I feel confident, safe, empowered by purchasing from this organization).

It’s extra work to get to the personal value. You need to think about what your customer needs and wants, what problem she is dealing with and how your service or product helps to solve that problem. If you can translate your business values into personal values — you’ve got gold.

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