“If I am your ideal customer, why should I purchase your product rather than any other product?” – Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS (parent company of MarketingExperiments)
At MarketingExperiments, researchers have used this question to develop value propositions over the past 20 years.
Many things have changed over the past couple decades, which has now, more than ever, left room for the customer to answer the value prop question.
Recently, Professor Wouter Van Rossum, a leading expert on value proposition and product development, held an Academic Lecture Series at MECLABS headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla., where he discussed the evolution of a value proposition in a post-Twitter world.
“Companies don’t want to hear [feedback],” Van Rossum explained, “They don’t like to hear it.”
But, in an era where customers can ask questions and interact with not only the company, but fellow dissatisfied customers online and demand a more and more personalized experience, it “more or less forces companies into co-creation.”
Co-creation implies a situation where both parties profit in terms of exchange value.
A “perfect example of co-creation,” according to Van Rossum is Threadless, a company that allows designers to submit art for T-shirts, among other commodities. Customers then vote on designs they want to purchase.
If the design is picked up by Threadless, the designers earn a portion of the profits from T-shirts sold and this creates an exchange of value.
Co-creation of exchange value, according to Van Rossum, implies that the company should determine a value proposition that will account for the customer’s contribution and result in a win-win situation for both the customer and the business.
In the case of Threadless: The company queues up designs that they know will be popular and purchased. The designer earns not only monetary rewards but also has work to add to their portfolio. Both parties benefit from the relationship and business model.