In the beginning, God created the Value Delivery System…and there was light. Or so the folks at McKinsey would have you believe.
I’m referring to a seminal 1988 paper entitled “A Business is a Value Delivery System” by Michael Lanning and Ed Michaels. It offers an elegant premise which remains one of the core frameworks that gets tattooed on your forehead while you’re on staff. Basically, it states that product-oriented businesses should recast themselves around a value-oriented mindset.
Now there may be some debate as to who really coined the term “Value Delivery System”. That’s neither here nor there. But I will say that it does have direct applicability in the world of marketing automation. In fact, I think it should be considered the “Start” button for every project.
The Challenge: A Product-Oriented Focus
What’s seems odd about the picture above?
First off, marketing comes at the end of the process. Second, marketing is in effect a reflection of the product itself. Product leads and marketing follows with messaging based on features, capabilities, differences, etc. In short, focus is on the product’s what and how.
Does this sound familiar?
I’m always amazed by the number of marketing automation projects I’ve seen that take a product-oriented approach. Let’s tell the world about our great product features! Let’s start blasting product materials right now!
Let’s not do that anymore. It’s too easy. And frankly, it’s no longer effective in today’s environment.
Far too many marketing automation initiatives begin by repurposing product sheets, tutorials, or customer testimonials. And far too many projects begin with discussions around email deliverability, data cleansing, or salesforce.com alerts.
Those aren’t the conversations to be having up-front.
The Solution: A Value-Oriented Focus
Now consider at the picture above, what do you see? A world where value – to the customer and throughout the organization – rules. This is the value delivery system. Some notable points:
- It requires a value proposition to be defined for each targeted market segment
- It requires a clear definition of benefits for each segment
- Product design, production & distribution are geared around those propositions and benefits
- External communication drives the value outward in a targeted yet precise fashion
Start Here Instead
Before anybody pulls out their email design studio, landing page editor or rule scoring engine, take a step back. Swim upstream a bit.
Who are you targeting? How should you group them in segments? What’s important to each segment? What value do you bring to each of their needs?
Now compare against the marketing content you have. Is there a gap? There often is. That’s where you’ll want to start.
Remember, you don’t need to close the entire gap. Try preparing a few items that are aligned with your brand new marketing automation value delivery system. Give those a whirl.
You always have to start somewhere. But your value delivery system achieves more than that: it sets the stage for everything that comes next.