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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Why do we need Frameworks for Businesses?

When you talk of frameworks in business arena, it is often seen as a complicated idea or an MBA jargon used by consultants to attract clients. But as a matter of fact, it has become an indispensable term in the industry. One of the biggest contributions by mathematics to business is geometry. Why do I say that? Geometry has helped us define boundaries. Be it a rectangle, a triangle, a circle and what not – all geometric shapes have definite boundaries. So what is its significance to business? Yes I am getting to that. Business runs in a very complex environment. The variables surrounding any business are numerous and are scattered all over. So unless you set a boundary, there is no chance for you to know and understand “what to consider” and “what not to”. It is like you are in an ocean without a compass or a satellite map. Framework gives you an edge by providing a structure to your business.

Image

Framework etymologically is frame(n) + work(v). I will base my concept with the three basic geometric shapes (circle, rectangle & triangle) to make it simple and lucid. While a circle with the largest area among the shapes helps capturing as many variables as possible, a rectangle helps defining the axis and a triangle in setting a base and moving towards that one defining variable on the top. There are plenty other geometrical shapes that would help us to customize and define the variables for our business needs. So do the frameworks help in defining boundaries alone? The answer is a clear “NO”. In the fast changing business environment, continuous improvement is the key for the future. Framework works a tool to asses, modify and adapt to the new requirements of the ever-changing business environment. It gives you a sense of focus and a direction towards the road ahead. No wonder renowned consultants are obsessed with frameworks.