Monday, June 8, 2009

Time to Sell Value, Not Price

The article below is by my very favorite marketing expert, Liz Goodgold. She brings home a very good point about Price vs. Value. Which do you offer your clients?

Everyone in this economy keeps shouting “sale!” or “lowest prices guaranteed.” But, I think they should be talking about value instead.

Let’s take a look at the short-lived Lowe’s commercial. This home improvement retailer thought it was ever so clever by adding a “t” to the end of its brand name - making the word “lowest.” Geez! Here I thought this big box retailer was so much better than its flaming orange competitor by virtue of it's women-friendly layout, selection, and helpful salespeople. Instead, these marketers are trying to become the Wal-Mart of home improvement!

Or, let’s take a look at the latest series of ads from JC Penney. Their entire message is built around “price, value, and style”. These are not unique brand attributes, these are traits every fashionable retailer must have!

And, let’s look at the travesty created by Saks Fifth Avenue. In November of last year, beginning on Black Friday, it panicked and marked down merchandise by as much as 70%. In fact, sale signs were so ubiquitous that it taught its customers to never pay full price again. With 52 Saks Fifth Avenue stores and 51 of its sister discount brand, Off 5th, it’s now impossible to tell the difference!

BUT, who is getting it right? Neiman Marcus. Although it too suffers from the same store sales declines, it appears to be recovering more quickly than its luxury competitors. My current fave promotion? Purchase at least $500 in full price women’s clothing, and get free alterations. See why I love it? It is selling value vs. discount.


So, what’s the lesson here? Never compete on price; it is a long-term losing proposition. Instead, sell value, offer bonuses, or extensions on purchases. Example: Sign up for 12 months of coaching and get 3 additional months free!

The above information is by Liz Goodgold, branding expert, author, and speaker. Sign up for her FREE BRAND FINALE newsletter with valuable information at I highly recommend her newsletter. Also, if you are on the west coast, try and make one of her seminars. Very well worth your time and a tremendous Value.

Value is a fact of doing business in this decade. A focus on value should be a high priority during times of economic downward cycles. Economic downturn is no longer the exclusive time to search for value. To be successful, businesses must understand the value they can add to their products and services. Loyal clients tend to stick with those businesses who offer value and don't go running somewhere else just for a better deal.

"In the absence of a value barometer, the relationship is reduced to a price eliminator." Bill Lee author of Gross Margin

What Value and/or added services do you offer your clients?

Here are just a few examples that I thought of:

- Publix will carry out your groceries and there's no tipping accepted
- Kroger offers free eco-fiendly wine bags. (At least my Kroger does)
- Hotels that offer free wi-fi
- Hotels that offer complimentary breakfast
- Pharmacy that offers free delivery and no tipping accepted
- Tire place that fixes flats at no charge, even if you didn't buy your tires there
- Car dealerships that offer a loaner car while yours is in the shop or a ride to local store within a 10 mile radius
- Coupon cards - Buy so many - get one free

We look forward to hearing some of your 'added values.'

Painted Lady Enterprises
"Helping You and Your Business Look Good"


Dennis Lynn said...

I understand the concept of "value vs price". I think an argument can be made for just about any marketing tag line.

Having said that...

I believe the more accurate Hot Lesson might be this: Consumers buy from companies they PERCEIVE as having value.

I give you WalMart. I give you SouthWest Airlines. I give you Carnival Cruise Lines.


paintedlady musings said...

Ah Yes....You are exactly right....Perception is Reality.

Christine said...

Very interesting article. I remember from a marketing class when we discussed selling the "perceived" value of your product or service. Selling the "intangibles" of something vs selling only the product. This is an important aspect to remember in marketing.


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