Manufacturers: why your value proposition is more important than your product

03/11/2021 08:09:38
Take a look at any traditional promotional campaign and you’ll see the ‘glitzy’ side of product marketing. Even if the product itself isn’t super-duper sexy – think cutting tools rather than Coca Cola – manufacturers are tempted to focus on it. 

“The latest innovations in laser welding technology” might sound exciting to you, but it does little to illustrate your value proposition. For long-term success, manufacturers need to focus on the benefits and the added value that comes from trading with them.

Why value proposition is so important for manufacturing right now

When positioning your product, you need to consider the sector itself. Right now, the UK manufacturing sector is suffering from setbacks including:

•    Staffing issues: we are currently facing the biggest manufacturing skills shortage in 30 years
•    Supply chain obstacles: Brexit, fuel crises and access to raw materials are causing delays
•    Increased regulation: there has never been a bigger emphasis on compliance or quality.

Whether you’re pitching to a new customer or re-evaluating your current product lines, you need to consider how your business, team, products and services add value. 

How do you add value?

“Added value is a simple equation – the difference between your costs and the price the customer is willing to pay.”

Of course, we can’t put a price on this “difference”. Rather than clinical monetary values, we should focus on the long-term benefits.

So, how can you offer your customers a stronger value proposition?

Give them assurances

The last thing a customer wants is to make a substantial order only for manufacturers not to hold up their end of the bargain. Certainly, supply chain issues are affecting every sector at the moment, so we need to manage expectations. However, we should also focus on what we can guarantee.

Look to what you can promise, whether that’s enough raw materials to make X volume of product, or a solid distribution network. This gives the added value of confidence – that you will meet deadlines, and that they can continue trading smoothly.

Offer convenience

We are all time-poor and living in a “convenience economy”. This extends beyond the end-users – your customers need to know that they can access critical information quickly. 

How can you offer this convenience? Offer (realistic) lead times upfront. Have a dedicated customer service team ready to answer any questions. Make information accessible both online and offline. Your customer service teams should be up to date on the latest developments, while your website and brochures should answer key questions.

But remember: convenience is not always synonymous with speed. It’s also about quality – it’s better to take longer to find the right answer to your customers’ questions than fob them off with AI.

Focus on modern-day values

Far from being a ‘buzzword’, sustainability is now a crucial consideration for UK manufacturers and suppliers. Not only must suppliers cater to UK customers’ changing demands; they must also consider external pressures such as climate neutral deadlines.

Taking a sustainable approach offers immeasurable value. You may source raw materials from sustainable forests, or you may have your own targets to use X% of recycled materials. Equally, you may contribute to carbon offsetting schemes.

Make sure all of this information is immediately available. If you have any accreditations, such as FSC certifications, make sure these are visible in your online and printed marketing materials. Likewise, any form of ‘social proof’ – such as endorsements from organisations like the Vegan Society – will add value.

Provide unrivalled quality

Last but by no means least, the quality of the product speaks louder than the product itself. Good quality translates as a long-lasting, trustworthy product that customers will want to buy time and again.

It encompasses the values of stringent manufacturing methods. It promises to deliver convenience long-term because of how it’s made – whether that’s with the latest technology or good old-fashioned TLC and craftsmanship. 

Of course, manufacturers can turn to quality assurance standards such as ISO 9000. But quality means something different for everyone. For example, reputation is a marker of quality – if you’re working with a well-known name, chances are, customers can rely on high-standard goods.

Make sure you’re communicating the quality you deliver. That may be with product warranties, manufacturing methods, raw materials or simply a brand name. High quality comes with a price tag to match, and articulating value will help you achieve the right price point.

How can I communicate my value proposition?

We are now using more customer touchpoints than ever, from traditional face-to-face meetings and printed brochures to online catalogues.

Again, these need to espouse the values listed above:
•    Setting expectations with lead times
•    Providing accessible information
•    Demonstrating sustainability credentials
•    Showcasing quality.

To keep customers on-side and keep revenue high, we need to achieve a balance. For more help communicating these values, speak to the Partners PR team.

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