As a digital marketer, I hear the word “value-add” and my mind immediately recalls negotiating perks for clients: macro influencers throwing in a few Twitter posts at no extra cost, digital publishers tossing in additional ad placements to sweeten the deal. Not unlike, say, a free jean-hemming service with the purchase of premium denim, digital marketers know the way to delight clients and stay competitive is to add a little something extra.
3Fold Communications CEO Gordon Fowler says using the term “added value” avoids the vagueness imposed by an abbreviation of a word that’s already considered business jargon. (Once a buzzword breaks down, so does, well, the value behind it.)
“‘Value-add’ gets a bad rap because it’s not specific, it’s general,” Fowler says. “[It’s better] if you say, ‘Hey we’re looking at some ‘added-value,’ which would include…. And then we’re specific about it.”
True added value is an ancillary service that’s both enticing for the client and strategic for the firm. What isn’t a value-add? Tossing in something “extra” for which the cost is already hidden in the marked-up price of the original service.
For most advertising agencies, seeking out added value for
clients is standard practice, as a way to both exceed projected
campaign performance in the immediate, and earn client loyalty in
the long term.
A value-add, in its truest form, still contributes to a business’s goals.
Rather than a tangential frill or perk, a campaign’s enhancements should still work toward its key performance indicators. “It could be location, it could be a longer media run, it could be a more comprehensive cycle,” Fowler says. “It could be any number of things that could get us a better value for our customer.” These types of value adds, for instance, can help a campaign to deliver more impressions and reach a greater percentage of the target.
In business, sometimes it’s not enough to just meet goals. Surpassing them is part of a service provider’s objective to surprise and delight. But that’s a buzzword for another time.
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