4 Ways to Fully Engage the Value Chain
I once heard a client say, “We can train our distributor network all day long, but since we can’t control the last mile of our product, all training is a waste of time and money.”
In other words, they had a Value Chain challenge. Their chain went:
Supplier → Distributor → Restaurant → Waitstaff → Fine Diners
And the “last mile” — waitstaff at upscale restaurants — weren’t communicating the value of their product. Which was strange. After all, diners want a good experience. Waitstaff want a healthy tip. And restaurants want to sell more. The incentives are in line.
No matter what you’re selling, there’s a value chain built around it.
It might be multiple layers of value-add (as in the manufacturing process) or even a blogosphere of influencers. But there’s always a way to engage the value chain and an opportunity to empower others to support your cause, if you follow these four steps:
Step 1: Understand your own goal in plain terms.
Clearly articulating your business goal allows you to understand objectively what you’re trying to accomplish — and makes it easier to find effective motivations for others.
Step 2: Evaluate the value chain.
What is the system? How does it work? Who’s involved? What are they trying to accomplish?
Step 3: Engage the value chain participants on their own level.
What context are they operating in? What are their priorities? Why? How can you help them?
Step 4: Frame the opportunity.
Truth is, your goal from Step 1 is probably the furthest thing from their mind. Reframe it in terms that are meaningful will motivate them.
To address our client’s challenge, we created training cards to accompany product and be part of the staff training at the start of each shift. The information made it easy for servers to incorporate it into their own sales pitches — so easy that some establishments put the verbiage right on their menus.
The point is, a value chain is called that for a reason: Everyone in it provides value.
No, you can’t “control” every link in the chain, but you can influence them. You can engage the value chain. And by making it easy for them to communicate your value to their key audiences, you can increase your value — and demand — all around.
About the Author: Tanya Korpi Macleod is the founder of Minneapolis-based Macleod & Co. After more than 25 years of marketing and advertising experience in the U.S. and Europe, Tanya noticed the chasm that often exists between an organization’s theoretical marketing “plan” and its realistic ability to execute it. This led her to pioneer in the concept of “holistic marketing,” which redefines marketing as the complete process of bringing a product, service or company from inception to maximum ongoing profitability. Her mission is to show organizational leaders that a holistic mindset not only promotes a healthier culture, but a more profitable business.