Startups – creating value for customers and communicating them

Getting people to buy your product/service can be a challenging process. How do you make your product/service desirable to customers? Bain & Company did a nice infographic on the 30 things that customers value shown below:


Companies that deliver more elements of value perform better i.e. have more loyal customers and a faster revenue growth rate than companies that don’t. Makes logical sense. As to what ranks highest, quality is deemed the topmost priority across all industries. After which, depending upon the industry, values are ranked differently e.g. food and beverage have sensory appeal ranked second highest while tech industries rank functional elements – avoids hassle, saves time, organizes etc. – next highest. Values that are in the emotional category are also ranked higher than those in the functional category.

One thing I realised apart from the importance of bringing value to customers, is the necessity of effective marketing and communication. I work for a startup which offers a life science reagent of higher quality than what is currently available. The founders thought since this was the case, the product would sell itself. But this is only the case if the value provided was blatantly obvious. The problem we faced was no one noticed that what they currently use was inferior unless they looked at certain indicators (which they would normally not study). I’m talking about siRNA and their off-target effects, for those scientists out there:

Most siRNAs are inherently non-specific, knocking down many genes in addition to the target gene. But because most scientists only measure the knock-down of their target gene, they do not see the numerous off-target genes that also get deregulated. They are thus left with the impression that the reagent is working fine. It’s only when screening a large number of siRNAs do these off-target effects become apparent. Go here to learn more.

Anyway, unless the value is obvious, like PokemonGo – Nostalgia, fun, sensory appeal etc. – one needs to really work hard on communicating the values to customers. And usually, the values that most products/services bring need to bring drummed into customers. This is what drives the advertising industry, and funds the paychecks of marketing and sales  consultants. So for those startup owners – what values are you delivering, and.. are they obvious?


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