Do you know what your best customers value?

How do you create value with your best customers?How do you create value with your best customers?

Last week we started a discussion about what you can learn from Steve Jobs and Apple and their ability to target their product development to critical markets. They are very good at creating value in the mind of their customers.  Here are several additional strategies you can learn from Apple on creating value for your best clients today.

The second strategy is value perception. How does your customer perceive your product? For many years, people judged the value of an auto by the sound the door made when it was opened and closed.  Crazy, huh? Watch a woman shop for a sweater or a new dress. She’s evaluating several things in less than the first 30 seconds. Most of her decision making process isn’t even on the conscious level. This is where marketing and peer pressure start to take effect. Once the basic value perception is achieved, it’s the intangibles that may close the deal.

But many companies fail to understand how their buyers buy.  Value perception for most products and services are in the intangibles. The intangibles are found by studying your best buyer and determining why they buy. Not through statistics, but through first hand observations and discussions.  Are you meeting and exceeding the demands of your best customer?  If not, why not?  It’s critical to your organization’s success.

The third strategy is embracing the few and forgetting the many. For many of my best clients, the biggest decision they must make is who are their best customers and stakeholders. When I work with many high growth organizations they tell me they can serve everyone. Very seldom are they correct.

They tell me look at Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.  They own businesses that serve everyone.  I then try to point out to them that there are few Microsofts or Coca-Colas in the world.  These men have grown their wealth by being selective in what they do, even if it’s on a global scale. They have a good handle on what larger markets value.

Successful organizations and investors are willing to walk away from bad customers, and so should you. Actually, I find that most of my best clients understand this even if they don’t talk about it much. Most of their wealth was created in the ability to get the right people invested at the right time.  Learning how to create the right offering at the right time for the right people is critical to your organization’s success.

The final strategy I learned from Steve Jobs was cool is always pricey. But it’s not always expensive to produce.  You must look for opportunities to thrill your best customers.  Who would have imagined that your phone would become a status symbol?  Go almost anywhere and you will see people pulling out their phone-digital camera- communications center and showing off its newest capabilities.

It’s no surprise that kids today buy expensive phones and do all kind of amazing things with them. It’s a hard economy.  They don’t have the money for a new car, but they can make people green with envy over their new phone.  As a marketer, there is a critical lesson to be learned. What value means depends on who your best customers are.

So maybe you’re not Steve Jobs, but this doesn’t mean you can’t learn from what Steve did in his lifetime. Just remember we can also do a better job at creating value with our clients and customers.

This Friday we will share several ideas that you can use to help you and you organization stand out from the crowd.  See you then.

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