Posts Tagged ‘Value Proposition’

Hidden Value: What buried treasure are you ignoring in your marketing?

April 24th, 2014 No comments

Earth Day was Tuesday, which is a great time to remind you that it isn’t eco-friendly to use disposable plastic water bottles. What if you carried a reusable bottle with you everywhere instead?

This type of bland pitch to take care of the Earth’s resources doesn’t tend to be very effective. Sure, you may get the true believers to take action. But the vast middle segment of the population who somewhat care about the environment, but are lazy, likely won’t do anything different. Or, they might try it once or twice and then give up.


Shining a light on the hidden value of reusable water bottles

When I spoke recently at the University of North Florida, I noticed a marketing tactic so simple, yet so brilliant, that I wanted to share it with you today as the perfect example of revealing hidden value. Here’s a water fountain I saw at UNF.



Now, I admit, I haven’t really kept up on water fountain technology. But you’ll notice how this water fountain is different from when you and I went to college: It has a feature that allows students to refill water bottles with filtered water. But here’s the really brilliant part …



I learned that this model of water fountain is the Elkay EZH2O Bottle Filling Station. There is a counter on each water fountain (which the company calls the Green Ticker) that says, “Helped eliminate waste from 35,403 disposable plastic bottles.”


What is hidden value?

This is the perfect example of revealing hidden value. Hidden value is value that your product or service offers a customer, but they don’t know about it because you either:

  • Don’t communicate it
  • Communicate it through your marketing, but it is buried and de-emphasized
  • Don’t track or compile the data at all

I believe that revealing this hidden value, which would have literally just flowed down the drain if the company didn’t track and message it, helped Elkay with two audiences:

  • Water fountain users – By quantifying and showing the amount of trash that was saved, users clearly see how the effort they are making as a community (in this case, university) is actually making a difference. It also adds some social proof, showing that others are taking this action. For example, Elkay has a case study about how a campaign built around this water fountain reduced plastic water bottle consumption by 92% and 350,000 fewer plastic bottles were sent to landfills.
  • Water fountain buyers – A water fountain is a B2B sale. Someone at UNF (and every other institution) had to decide to buy and install these water fountains. By quantifying a number that would have been lost, the purchaser is likely to be able to make an easier case to purchase more of these fountains, essentially showing the ROI to sustainability committees.


Now that you have a better understanding of hidden value, here are three ideas for revealing it more effectively in your marketing.


Idea #1. What value is buried in your marketing collateral?

Go on a treasure hunt. Sometimes the important elements of value are hidden in your marketing.

For example, by moving the number of members in a physician-only social network from a throwaway line out of the eye-path to the headline of the email, we were able to more than double conversion. You can see the control and treatment emails in “Email Messaging Test: 104% increase in conversion from rented list.”


Idea #2. What is the value of the next step in the process?

Another reason value is hidden is because prospective customers don’t know the value of the action you’re asking them to take; they only understand the costs.

This is especially true for product purchases, in which videos or images of the product in use and customer testimonials can help. You need to answer the question, “What’s it like to be a customer of your service or owner of your product?”

But it’s also true for something as simple as clicking a button. In this case, you need to answer the question, “What happens after I take this action?” In the email test I shared above, another element that helped increase conversion was changing the call-to-action button copy from “Get Started” to “See How [Product Name] Works.”


Idea #3. What value do customers not know they’re already getting?

Ever talk to someone who works at a company of a product you use, and they tell you all about the background information of the product, and this leaves you thinking, “Wow! I didn’t know it could do this”?

A great example is an experience I had with the folks who sell Acuvue contact lenses, which I wear. They had a booth at the Gate River Run here in Jacksonville, so I stopped by. They can’t sell contacts from the booth, you need a prescription. But they said the main reason they had the booth was simply to let people know that Acuvue contact lenses have UV protection, a hidden value most customers didn’t even realize.


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Email Messaging Tested – A recent experiment reveals the two words that increased email clickthrough by 13% [Web clinic replay]

Lead Generation: Customers are looking for a solution to their problems

April 17th, 2014 No comments

At MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013, Jon Ciampi, Vice President of Marketing, Corporate Development, Business and Strategic Accounts, CRC Health, recounted his challenges with PPC ads and how using A/B split testing helped him better understand his customers and use his marketing budget more effectively.

Jon and the team went through the arduous process of purging a majority of the 3,000 keywords the company was bidding on in an effort to optimize the PPC campaign for one of its rehab facilities.

“[Customers] are not looking for a value proposition,” he said.

Rather, he continued, they were looking for a solution to a very real problem – alcoholism, drug addiction or eating disorder rehabilitation. When the tests were analyzed, he saw that customers weren’t searching using the words that the company used. For example, customers might use the word “clinic” instead of “facility.”

The first step in this process was getting the customer and the company to speak the same language. Customers were not clicking through to the value proposition – Jon knew that the conversation had to change.


Although CRC Health had something very valuable to offer, Jon realized that he couldn’t “change the conversation” from what motivated customers to the value proposition “until [he started] the conversation” with customers by using their motivations.

Jon found the most effective way to start this conversation was to group keywords together. Rather than bidding on high-traffic words like “rehab,” – a very competitive and highly trafficked word – the team tied several words together, such as “methamphetamine rehabilitation facility” to find the highly motivated customers. This separated real leads from the users trying to find out which celebrities checked into rehab that week.

“The value proposition isn’t the motivation of the buyer, the motivation of the buyer is actually driving their decision,” Jon explained.

In order to get customers into the sales funnel from a search, he first had to address why and what the customer was searching for. Using PPC ads, he could assess, test and optimize his campaigns to discover and understand his customers in a low-pressure environment.

See his entire presentation from Lead Gen Summit 2013 in the MarketingSherpa Video Archive.

  Read more…

Email Marketing: Change in CTA copy increases clickthrough 13%

March 24th, 2014 3 comments

The “ask.”

When you strip marketing down to its core, your call-to-action is arguably the most important element in your email marketing.

If you get it just right with your copy, customers will give their permission with clicks, downloads, a purchase or whatever desired action is intended.

Get the copy wrong, however, and a CTA is becomes “ignore-the-action” from the customer’s perspective.

So what role does copy play in the success of a CTA?

A pretty big one.

To illustrate this, let’s look at a recent Web clinic where the MECLABS research team revealed the results of an experiment that drilled down into how CTA copy impacts customer action.

Here’s a little research information on the test.

Background: An audio technology and engineering company offering professional and personal audio products.

Goal: To significantly increase the number of clicks from a promotional email.

Primary Research Question: Which email CTA copy will produce the greatest clickthrough rate?

Approach: A/B single factorial split test





In Version A, the team hypothesized that using “Shop Now” as the CTA copy was a potential source of customer anxiety.

According to the MECLABS Conversion Heuristic, anxiety is simply a negative factor that reduces the likelihood a potential customer will take a desired action.





In Version B, the team tested “View Details” as the CTA copy.




  Read more…

Value Proposition: 3 steps for laying your value prop testing groundwork

January 2nd, 2014 2 comments

In a recent blog post, a colleague of mine, Spencer Whiting, spoke to the reasons we need to avoid marketing strategies driven by the HIPPOs (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) of our companies and the “company logic” that most often supports their viewpoints.

It’s often that a limited number of well-paid individuals at companies have the power to shape the marketing strategies that influence customer perceptions of your products, and your company as a whole.

However, too frequently these decisions are made based on what we think our customers need instead of focusing on the real golden egg – what we know our customers want.

One definitive way for us to overcome this habit is to discover which aspects of our value proposition customers and prospects value most. The best way to figure out which aspects of our products and services are perceived as most valuable in the eyes of our customers and prospects is to test them on the open market.

If this seems like a daunting task to you, don’t worry. In today’s MarketingExperiments Blog post, we’ll go over the first three steps to take toward testing your value proposition and uncovering exactly what it is about your current offerings that your customers really want.


Step #1. Identify your value proposition claims

To start, it’s best to meet with your team in a good old-fashioned brainstorming session to put everything on the table and out in the open.

Include as many stakeholder groups as possible to gain as many point of views incorporated – from the C-Suite, R&D, Marketing, Sales and even customers. The closer you are to your customers – the ones who actually use your product because they find it valuable – the better.

The goal of this session is to discover all points of value that you can link to your product. To do this effectively, make sure to ask these questions:

  • What makes your product or service valuable?
  • What makes it better than your competitors’?
  • Why would a customer purchase it?
  • How does it benefit people?
  • What problem(s) does it solve?
  • What about your company enhances your product or service?

Once you and your team have an exhaustive list of value claims, your next step is to discover how to prove these claims to your customers.


Step #2. Identify the evidence that proves your value proposition

When you make claims about anything in life, people expect to hear the evidence that you have to back up those claims. In marketing, this expectation is often heightened for most people by the pervasive bombardment of marketing and advertising messaging we all receive in our daily lives.

When considering what evidence you have to support the claims you and your team have identified, it is very important to focus on specificity and quantification. Be sure to know specific details rather than generalizations, and try to have quantified numbers when possible.

Both add credibility and tangibility to the claims you make.

Instead of “We have the widest selection in the area,” go with something like this:  “We offer a selection of widgets across 17 models with 134 customizable attachments – the most in Smith County.”

For each claim you have, it’s necessary to dig into the specific evidence that exists as to why you are able to make that claim. If it’s a claim around customer service, look into the number of happy and satisfied customers your representatives have helped in a certain time period.

If it’s a claim to endurance, find the number of years needed before service is needed or the amount of uses a customer can get out of your product. If it’s a claim to quality, point out the specific materials or specialized craftsmanship used in creating your product.

Try to be as comprehensive as possible in these first two steps so your team has the most material available for manipulation when creating test expressions.

At this point, however, don’t waste your time focusing on wordsmithing; just achieve the plain facts and be as specific and quantified as possible. There will be time to worry about sprucing up the messaging in later steps of the process.

  Read more…

Lead Generation: Capturing more leads with clear value prop communication

October 3rd, 2013 1 comment

According to the MarketingSherpa 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report, 51% of marketers surveyed indicated the most effective platform for testing their value proposition was through email marketing campaigns.

This is no secret to savvy marketers. Austin McCraw, Senior Editorial Analyst, MECLABS, also discussed how to discover the essence of your value prop through email at Email Summit 2013.

Jon Ciampi, Vice President of Marketing, CRC Health, did just that and revealed his strategy at Lead Gen Summit 2013, happening right now in San Francisco.

In his session, “Lead Capture: How a healthcare company increased demand for services 300%,” Jon shared with the Summit audience how understanding customer motivations, driving traffic, and clearly communicating the value proposition all helped his company capture a higher quality of leads.

At CRC Health, Jon developed nine value propositions, and broke that list down into problem- and solution-focused messages. He combined the company’s in-house list with a purchased list consisting of psychiatrists and therapists who refer their patients to CRC Health. Then, the team crafted email subject lines reflecting the different value propositions to test where the customer was in regard to researching the problem, or looking for a solution.

Through testing, Jon discovered a 14.49% clickthrough rate in the top-performing subject line, and this was problem-focused messaging rather than solution-focused messaging. For CRC Health, the process of searching for a rehabilitation center is most likely a first-time experience for customers. Therefore, understanding that these prospects are looking for different options related to their problem, rather than immediately solving the issue, was extremely important to targeting their needs. 


“What we found is with rehab, everyone is focused on the problem. With our in-house list, patient-focused messages were more motivating and increased clickthrough rates,” Jon said.

Even though he made a breakthrough with testing value propositions through email, he did encounter the fact that one size does not fit all, particularly with his audience, and even more specifically with a purchased list.

For psychiatrists opening CRC Health sends, their top message for open and CTR was scientific-based. The subject lines and topics that most resonated with this segment were “improving addiction treatment with science and research,” “outdated addiction treatments fail patients,” and “CRC Health as the strongest clinical supervision in the nation.”

However, the audience that preferred more relationship-based messages was therapists. Messages like “Treatment fails when therapists & clients aren’t aligned,” and “Most rehabs can’t provide effective clinical supervision” were the top performers for this segment of CRC Health’s audience.

“Overall, self-serving messages performed far worse than patient-focused messages. Patient-oriented problem statements motivated them as well,” Jon said.

Through value prop testing with his audience via email messaging, Jon learned much more about his audience and their motivations.

As an exciting result of value proposition testing, he discovered a 3x to 4x increase in demand for services. According to Jon, when testing began, both inquiries and admissions increased.

“One of the top things I learned is to look at funnel. What are the motivations of your customers? … Also, understand their language. Different buyers with different perspectives will affect how your messages are interpreted,” Jon concluded.

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Customer Motivation: 3 steps to help you stop thinking like a marketer

September 5th, 2013 No comments

At MECLABS, there are two things we couldn’t live without: testing and data.

Although we consider these the most vital tools in our business, we also understand the importance of the backstory. With anything you hope to accomplish in life, a good perspective on the situation and an understanding of the task makes solving any problem more manageable.

Before you can truly analyze a webpage, you must understand your prospects’ motivation and expectations. In doing so, your chances of correlating any data you’ve been collecting with the copy on the page will be greater. This also provides a basis for testing and helps you guard against inconsistent tests.

In today’s MarketingExperiments Blog post, I want to share with you a series of steps to follow, giving you a better understanding of your webpage. These are some quick and simple questions to get you thinking more like a prospect and less like a marketer.


Step #1. Understand what information you want visitors to find

To help you make this connection, you can provide more clarity in your headline, add additional value copy, or use more relevant images. Any information you feel prospects need to make an informed decision should be clearly displayed within the page.

With that said, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Is your product/service the primary message on the page?
  • What is your value proposition?
  • Why should prospects buy from you versus one of your competitors?
  • What can you offer that your competitors can’t?

If you aren’t clearly defining the value of your offering, you will miss making that connection with your visitors.


Step #2. Find the disconnect

All too often, there are disconnects between the messaging marketers place within a page and the motivation a prospect has when arriving to that page.

Here are a few questions to consider when looking for a disconnection between prospects and your message:

  • What are our visitors looking for?
  • Where are our visitors coming from?
  • What did they click to arrive here?
  • Are we aware of what visitors have been looking at on our page?
  • Does our page match the expectations visitors have when clicking through to our landing page?

Answering these questions won’t solve all of your problems, but they will certainly put you on the right track to test optimal messaging on your pages.


Step #3. Understanding the impact  

Before beginning successful testing, you must first understand the impact the prospects’ motivation and expectations have on clickthrough and conversion rate.

To help you understand the impact and draw conclusions, you must ask yourself:

  • What have we learned about our prospects?
  • Are there any recurring trends?
  • Have we found any disconnect in our messaging?

The answers to these questions will help you determine its impact and ultimately formulate a strategy for testing.

Sure, data can detect what visitors are clicking on, where they are coming from, and where they went next, but it can’t tell you why. Bounce rate is a good metric for determining if your page matches a prospect’s motivation and expectations, but it doesn’t give insight on what that motivation actually is.

Read more…