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value“To explain. To persuade. To sell.” These phrases are all common in any definition of the “value proposition.” The world has changed Kemosabe, from baby boomers to millennials, the conversation has to change, too.

I have been in advertising all my life. My dad sold radio while I was growing up, so literally every meal I’ve ever eaten has been paid for with advertising. So, maybe it sounds heretical to say that advertising doesn’t sell or persuade, but the truth is, it doesn’t and it can’t.

Advertising (and related marketing activities) can explain, entertain and engage, but mostly advertising communicates. The effectiveness of advertising is based on what is contained in that communication. If the message is “Buy One, Get One Free” or “The lowest prices in town” the result might be a transaction, but it will not be a long-term relationship or a sustainable brand. Likewise, any value proposition that is based in persuading or selling is a proposition with misplaced values.

mother tThe world really has changed… or has it?

Yes. The days of mass communication directed to the masses with a “Look At Me” message are over. They only existed in the first place because there were only three TV channels and one newspaper in each market. I think Mother Teresa said it best: “I never think in terms of a crowd, but of individual persons.” She really was a genius.

Marketing has and always will be one-on-one. Your marketing strategy, your position, your value proposition have to start and end with your customer. What is his problem? What would make her life easier? What innovation do you offer as a solution?

Millennials like it. Boomers too.

Truth is, we all like to be talked to about stuff that matters to us. Make my life simpler, faster, more fun, less costly… solve my problems and you have my attention. If you want to add real value to your value proposition, discover the magic in your company that solves the problem in your customer’s life and you will do more than persuade, explain or sell. You will make a friend. A friend with benefits.

Join us at the Marketing+Innovation Experience at NC Wesleyan College on March 3rd. It will be all about you that day, so you can do a better job at being all about them when you get back home.

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