As the National Football League (NFL) season unfolds, you'll find me on Sunday afternoons rooting for the Baltimore Ravens or the Buffalo Bills. Lately, I'm increasingly aware of the intricate value of each NFL game, each team within the NFL, and the business of the NFL itself. It's not just about the athletic spectacle on the field — it's a finely tuned deliverable of entertainment, community, and brand loyalty. This realization has led me to consider how applying a lens of value — really understanding and enhancing the various dimensions of value—could further refine the NFL experience. It could develop from the product on the field to a comprehensive service to fans and stakeholders alike.
Value is the lifeblood of any business, defining its success and growth. In the complex ecosystem of modern markets, understanding and ensuring customers perceive value is an art. It separates the good from the great. In this blog series, we will explore how businesses can tap into the multifaceted nature of value. We’ll provide practical insights and examine how these principles come to life. With introspection, I now realize that most organizations and consulting groups seem to focus on one side of the value equation – the dollars and the usefulness. Yes, this is hugely important, but without the second side, you will never optimize your organization.
4 dimensions of value
In my deep dive into the complex nature of customer value, I draw upon my takeaways of insights from Maxie Schmidt, Vice President, and Principal Analyst at Forrester. These insights were presented at the Forrester Technology and Innovation EMEA conference held in London on October 12-13, 2023. Recognizing customers as multifaceted, with diverse needs is crucial for understanding this value. Sometimes we miss the bigger picture around the real meaning and purpose of what the customer wants or needs hiding elsewhere in the customer journey.
Some myths must be busted. Spending money, saving money, or improving a process does not automatically translate into value. If the customer does not use the excellent service, or product no value is delivered or derived from the work that was done and we have created a great product or service that no one uses. Still, this is often where we put our time and creates waste and a loss of Business Value for the client and organization.
The following figure from Forrester shows the four primary areas that drive real value: Economic, Functional, Experiential, And Symbolic. Too often our focus is only on the right side of the picture Money & Usefulness because these value drivers are more obvious. But differentiation comes from helping customers get experiential or symbolic value.
Enhancing the NFL fan experience
Let’s apply Forrester’s four dimensions of value to an NFL football game experience to provide a comprehensive strategy to enhance fan engagement and satisfaction.
- Affordability: Offer ticket pricing tiers, from budget-friendly seats to accommodate price-sensitive fans through premium options for those willing to pay more for a better experience.
- Promotions: Discount merchandise, concessions, or future tickets for season ticket holders, which creates a sense of getting more for their money.
- Dynamic pricing: Price tickets based on demand, time of season, and opponent, which optimizes revenue while offering fans price options.
- Seating comfort: Ensure comfortable seating with good sightlines to the field, enhancing the practical enjoyment of the game.
- Concessions: Provide a variety of food and drink with efficient service that minimizes missed game time.
- Accessibility: Ensure the stadium is easily accessible through public transport, has ample parking, and offers clear signage to reduce confusion and enhance the functional experience.
- Halftime shows: Offer entertaining halftime shows and fan interaction activities to create memorable experiences.
- Fan engagement: Use mobile apps for in-game experiences, such as live stats, replays, or ordering food from seats.
- Customer service: Train staff to be helpful and friendly, making each interaction positive.
- Community: Foster a sense of community and belonging among fans, encouraging them to feel part of the team's extended “family”.
- Prestige: Offer exclusive experiences for premium ticket holders, such as meet-and-greets with players, which can confer a sense of status.
- Support: Engage in community and charity initiatives that allow fans to feel their support for the team contributes to good causes.
Where to start
In her speech, Forrester's Schmidt emphasized that understanding customer value often is a prelude to measuring it. Companies can mistake inherent product value for perceived value. She suggests a three-step process to verify your direction:
- Conduct qualitative research to grasp the actual value perceive from customers.
- Derive defining metrics for each value dimension.
- Use these metrics to optimize the customer experience.
These insights are further elaborated in the CX Goalkeeper podcast in which she was featured, "Value for Customers with Maxie Schmidt - 84," published on July 25th, 2022. But it's not just about measuring -- it's about mindset. Maximizing customer value isn't necessarily about ranking these dimensions but about understanding which specific aspects within them matter most to your customers. When you create a win-win situation where both the customer and the company feel they're getting the best part of the deal you are in the sweet spot of customer value.
In a marketplace where economic and functional value is often a given, the differentiators lie in the experiential and symbolic values. Understanding and leveraging these aspects can set a company apart, providing a more holistic and satisfying customer experience.
The next blog pivots from understanding the perceived value to exploring the intricate “Value Network” behind it. We'll unravel how organizations can weave the threads of their operations, processes, and customer interactions into a robust tapestry that not only co-creates value with customers but also amplifies it at every touchpoint. Stay tuned as we take a deep dive into the dynamics of Value Networks and how they shape the foundation of exceptional co-creation of value.
- Schmidt, M. (2023). Presentation at Forrester Technology and Innovation EMEA conference, London, 12-13 October. Retrieved from https://www.information-age.com/forrester-defining-driving-tech-value-for-cios-123507544/.
- Schmidt, M. (2022). Value for Customers with Maxie Schmidt - 84. [Podcast]. CX Goalkeeper. Retrieved from https://cxgoalkeeper.com/2022/07/25/maxieschmidt/