“Added Value”

Ben Shepherd writes: I love the term ‘added value’ and I love how it is thrown around so much.

I reckon it’s been thrown around so much it’s lost all meaning …

So what does it actually mean? Well, ask 3 people and you’ll get 3 answers. Generally in my experience it means one of the following

– added cost that can’t really be justified or explained with rationale
– added activity/services you didn’t really want to begin with – which generally ties back to point 1

I found a good definition on the web.

Added Value: The value that is added to a product or a service as a result of a particular process.”

I think this is a good general definition.

Generally real ‘value add’ comes from great process.

Great sales process – understanding the brief, asking questions, being creative, being clever.

Great strategic process – creating a holistic communications idea, sound metrics, logistically possible, backed by data and insight.

I think the issue with ‘Added Value’ is that sometimes there is confusion about which party is getting the real added value.

Salespeople often think added value is a higher order value … which means less to chip away at the ol’ sales targets. Agencies often feel added value is added extraction from clients as the margins in general media buying aren’t sustainable.

Often the client isn’t even considered in all of this which has always confused me. I guess it comes down to how you approach what you do.

Last year myself and Ben Maudsley spoke to the ninemsn/PBL digital sales folk and I asked them the question of whether they go to work to take orders or whether they went to work to solve problems for their advertisers. My thought was that to be successful in media you need to approach heading to work as the challenge of solving problems for your clients. This in turn influences your processes when at work.

I think if you do this you get a lot closer to the true concept of ‘Adding Value’.


2 responses to ““Added Value”

  1. One thing I’ve noticed with most RFPs is that it’s often very hard to really understand the client’s needs from the detail provided to publishers.

    And getting hold of media planning folks to ask questions is difficult.

    So while it’s a great approach and concept (trying to solve advertisers’ problems) – I think both parties need to commit to the process for it to happen.

  2. talkingdigital

    interesting point … i think publishers often throw around RFP a bit out of context … often all an agency wants is a schedule with rates … they know why they’re using the site before they’ve briefed it out

    In other instances you need a deeper response but not always. Really depends on the client and scale/specialty of the publisher

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