OK, so why do marketers need to understand Value Chain analysis? Why can’t we just write a super ad?
Because the more you know about how your product (or service) interacts with the customer the more you can match up company strength with customer need. If you can successfully do that, you will win at marketing.
In Competitive Advantage Michael Porter outlines the importance of the Value Chain for a company. Ideally, your company would view Value Chain analysis as an integral part of their strategy. Senior management would direct managers in Operations and Sales and Customer Service to map out the various contact points between Company Value Chain and Customer Value Chain; to ferret out what really matters to the customer. Then your company would engineer products and services to profitably provide a product that fits with customer want and company strength.
Hey, let’s get real. In most companies this just doesn’t happen. You’re the marketer; you’re tasked with driving up sales. Senior management might help you out a little; maybe they’ll pave the way by letting other departments know the importance of marketing. But in most situations you’ll need to do the heavy lifting of a value-chain analysis yourself.
By all means, ask your customers. Create customer survey tools and email feedback options. Find out as much as you can about how your customer uses your product, and what they like about it.
But voluntary customer feedback alone is insufficient to construct a good Value Chain analysis. Sure, it’s vital to know how the customer uses and interacts with your product, but you need to understand how the customer value chain connects to your company’s value chain.
For that, you’re going to need to ask some other people in your company. Find one or two key people in the following areas: Shipping, Customer Service, and Sales. Information you glean from each of them will supply raw material for total marketing connections to your customer that leverage your company strength with the customer needs. And you can use that leverage to overpower your competition.