July '21

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1 8 G R A P H I C S P R O J U L Y 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M T H E R I S I N G T I D E O F B U S I N E S S A W A R D S & C U S T O M I Z AT I O N more virtual interactions. It's not that in- person stuff will go away, but we might not put as much value onto hopping on a plane to go somewhere with big crowds. These are just slight shifts, but they make a big difference in what we are willing to pay. Value at the end of the day is what someone is willing to give or sacrifice to get the desired object. There is even negative value where someone is willing to give or sacrifice not to have to do or have a particular thing. For me, I'm not a big car guy, so I get no satisfaction out of working on the car. I pay more than I probably need to have my oil changed and general maintenance done on my vehicle. On the flip side, I enjoy getting out and mowing my lawn and seeing the finished product as I wipe the sweat away. I don't pay for lawn service and find it hard to justify no matter how busy I get. SEEING VALUE Now that you understand what value is, the big question be- comes, how can you make sure that you help your customers see your unique value proposition? The answer is in your marketing. It all starts with telling a story about what services you provide, and the feelings and values people get from trading their money for value. You have never gone to a movie or read a book where they just tell you the plot or read some specs. We choose books and mov- ies that tell a story and make us feel like we are right there with the characters. I don't know anyone who picks up a user's manual of something they don't own to read at leisure. In your marketing, stop being the us- er's manual, i.e., the tools used to make things, the number of colors, etc., and start telling your story as the value you bring to your customers. You create memories or connections or brand per- sonal identities. You don't make mugs or T-shirts or handbags. You support the na- tional economy with made-in-the-U.S. products, or support your local commu- nity by providing jobs. Your customers will value the story that has little to do with the end product and everything to do with the journey, the people, and the community around your business. When you tell your story in that light, it is your job to better understand your ideal customer and what they value. For decorators, you must determine why people should buy from you. It has nothing to do with the cost and every- thing to do with the value you bring. Is made in the U.S. important to your ide- al customers? If so, how important? Are they willing to pay 40% more, or is as- sembled or decorated in the U.S. enough for them? The other part of your story is the experience of working with you — the services you bring to the table, the shared interest in a niche, or your experience in that niche. One of our Mastermind Group members was part of the school system in her area for years. She understands the unique nuances that schools in her area deal with. She speaks their lan- guage, knows how to solve their

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