In recent years, I haven’t done much blogging but I’m intending to get back into the habit of writing two or three articles a week, as well as continually to be a prolific business book reviewer on Amazon.co.uk.
I’ll be blogging in two places, here on my Business Development Advice website and also on my business strategy blog, Differentiate Your Business.
Last week I wrote an article on DYB that looked at adding customer value by taking away something taken for granted.
It was inspired by newspaper articles on the topic of naked house cleaning. Yes customers were paying £45 an hour to have (not surprisingly) a young woman clean their houses in the nude. And not surprisingly, most of the customers were men!.Allegedly, the business was catering for the naturist market, so the cleaners not only had to be broad-minded enough to be naked themselves but, if their clients were home, probably had to see them naked too.
No hanky panky was allowed but, even then, my mind shudders.
It does, however, help to make a serious point.
Sometimes our products have become too feature rich, too complicated and, as a result, too expensive.
That happens because businesses get too focused on being better rather than being different.
If competitors add features to their products and services, the temptation is to assume that all customers must want those extras and to add them in to your own products. This is crazy stuff. Spending more money to copy competitors so that there is minimal difference between products so customers are tempted to buy on price.
This is a race to the bottom that no one will win.
The important questions to ask are:
- What do my customers want?
- Do they all want the same thing or should I have different offerings?
- What do my targeted non-customers want and do they want different things?
Even if you find yourself thinking that you would have to sell the simple and the more complicated products at the same price, don’t worry unnecessarily.
Simplicity can add value and complexity can destroy it.
One of the big drivers of the success behind the Apple brand is simplicity. It made them, at one stage, the biggest company in the world based on stick market valuations.