The Missing “2” in B2B / B2C Value Discovery

The era when you develop a product and expect to sell purely based on its features is gone forever. Any product you create, produce or innovate, you will soon find plenty of companies selling similar products in the market, sometimes with a price that might be very competitive to match as well. When companies don’t want to compete on price, there came the concept of Value discovery.

value-discovery-400x267So what is this value all about and how do you discover it? A simple answer would be – value is what customer finds useful in your product or service, that can address his/her pain points and that can establish a business for you. Simple definition isn’t it? No, companies spend thousands of dollars to discover value for every product or service they do. In product oriented environment, the process is relatively simple as some of the values are fixed and finding the remaining variables are not often very tough. The services environment provides plenty of challenges as the variables are quite often infinite. Hence picking the right variables that create value for the customer becomes a paramount importance. The concept gets even more interesting when you look from the angle of B2C or B2B. Let us not argue here on which needs greater attention in value discovery. Instead we will find ways to make value discovery a simple and interesting process.

In my earlier post I talked about frameworks and how it helps business. Value discovery becomes simpler if we make it in a visual framework. Companies often believe understanding the pain points of the customer and creating a products or service around it will create value. True in a sense – but most companies often miss a critical element i.e. “consumer” or rather customer’s customer. There are 3 elements to discover value to any business.

3cpyramid

The levels in 3C pyramid gives you steps to discover the value to any product or service. Understanding your company and the principles in which it operates forms the base to any value discovery. Then is the understanding of the pain points of the customer that your company serve and adapting the value proposition of your product or service to address those pain points. This is where most companies stop the process of value discovery, with the thought process that the cycle of B2(B/C) is complete. Most often in business the end customers/consumers are different from the customer you serve. There is a second and an important “2” to most business which is B2(B/C) + 2(B/C).

Toy industry is a classical example where the missing “2” is effectively employed in the business. The toys are produced to attract kids but marketed to parents – B2C2C. They make it attractive for kids but market to parents the advantage the toy brings to the growth of their kids and makes it easy to buy through use of different online and offline channels. Intel a semiconductor vendor for computer manufactures not just found value from its direct customer, instead went to public with the advertisements. The effect of the ads made consumers look for intel symbol in the computers to be assured of its quality. Intel discovered the value quality with the customer’s consumers and hence had a sustained success in the competitive industry (B2B2C).

So keep discovering value and remember not to miss the second “2” element in your discovery process.

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Sooryanarayanan

A business enthusiast and a fun-loving person. A believer and a propagator of Free Knowledge Economy. This blog site is all about understanding and sharing the business concepts in simple terms and the philosophy that surrounds it. Come, share your knowledge and together let us create a passionate good community around us.

4 thoughts on “The Missing “2” in B2B / B2C Value Discovery”

  1. Nice post you have here. The examples of toy industry and Intel are extremely appropriate. Many a times, you don’t know the end customer, in which case how do you go about identifying the value. Once you identify the value, how do you communicate that value?

    1. Thanks Saba. In the case of intel it was simple – they came up with blueman advertisements with the Intel Inside campaign. In a pure B2B2B is where actual challenge lies. But often we see customers preferring a particular technology from their contact vendor, because they would have read a blog or attended an event where the particular technology highlights were projected. Now the vendor is forced to use the technology because the customer believes in it.

  2. Good blog to look past the next level of customer and look towards the end consumer benefiting in the entire value chain. My take is, even though you finally provide value to the end consumer, how do we quantify it to the customer to whom we are selling the product/service?
    Ultimately, it is the customer who is paying and not the end consumer.

    1. Siddharth – Nice point. First let us understand why the customer have to buy from you and keep buying from you – and not from others. It is the value that differentiates.

      I will take a B2B2C example here to dig in deeper to your question – Let us pick the company Google for the simplicity sake. Google’s VALUE to the consumer (public) is in bringing the most relevant search possible. This pushes the consumer to use Google and in-effect it pulls (marketed) the customers (Companies that give Ads) to prefer Google over others. Here Google had quantified the value it derives from the consumer to sell to the customer. What do you think ?

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