Is it value-added or just a cost-add?

In every recession the customer gets motivated to see where the value is really being added, and where it isn’t. This happens due to an effort to stretch smaller budgets (at home and at work). We try lower cost solutions to see if we can save some money. Often we find that the lower cost solution is not really a trade-off. In fact, it is of equal utility for less money. (Which suggests greater value actually.) WalMart, as I have posted before, believes a substantial portion of new trial customers they see during a recession will stick with them after the recession is over.

This brings me to today’s post on meetings being cut back to the bare minimum. That was the headline of an article in USA Today on April 13, 2010. This is not news to many of my professional speaker friends who saw a dramatic reduction in speaking dates and fees in 2009. However, this article focused on other areas of cut-backs including hosting meetings at university conference centers. Not only do these centers do a great job, they charge less than hotels and don’t have the potential PR problem of being “too nice” a location.

Several of the meeting planners interviewed in the article indicated they had discovered that the value-add from the locations they had previously used were surprisingly not as valuable as the price being charged. They indicated an intent to continue to use the lower cost (and therefore higher value) venues. We’ll see if that truly plays out because sometimes people take a politically correct position rather than being forthright.

All that being said it comes down to how can you take advantage of this “trial” trend in your market? And, how are you making sure that you are providing fair value for the investment made by customers in your goods or services? It’s always been about value and every recession reminds us of this … again.

Mitch

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