Business & how we see it

Adding Value: What does it mean?

You’ve read our post about figuring out what being data-driven actually means

Now it’s time to delve a little deeper into another commonly used, incredibly vague phrase that lurks menacingly on LinkedIn and in Guru’s advice everywhere:

“Add value,”

“Make sure you’re adding value!”

“We need to add more value,”

My response is usually, “thanks, could you be any more specific than that?”.

1 Sept. 2020  \\ Technology                             Author: Alexander Boast

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Today, we will be more specific than that.

Adding value is based on the understanding that when I buy from you, I’m not buying your product or service, I am buying a better life for myself, or a better version of myself. It’s actually not about you at all, and entirely about me.

So in order to add value, you need to give me more for the same price or improve our existing agreement. That’s what it really means. 

Let’s take a real-world example of adding value:

Airbnb wanted an easier way for users to post listings and potential users to find them, so they added tremendous value by integrating with Craigslist, growth hacking their business at the same time by leveraging a useful existing audience platform.

A good example of adding value for the modern business is through listening rather than talking.

Conversely, you need to understand that it is likely most brands are actually detracting value from you via an insidious technique known as value engineering. What this really means, is lowering the interest rate of your current account, making your chocolate bar smaller, or putting less alcohol in your beer.

That’s why adding value can be so powerful, when and only when it is done correctly. 

Only by listening can we understand what is going on around us. 

In the data world, there’s currently a skills and knowledge gap around data literacy or what businesses might call data excellence, a way for data businesses to add value here is to publish free educational resources, and invest in certification and other formalised training that can help address that skills gap.

These are real examples of adding value that far transcend the usual platitudes of:

“Give better customer service”

“Innovate your industry”

“Solve more problems”

That isn’t helpful advice for anyone, it’s obvious, but when there’s so much free, generic business advice out there like this, it’s challenging to know where to begin when it comes to such vague concepts as “adding value”, that’s why we wanted to take a moment to explain to you what it really means.

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