The business world and its focus have changed. Now, more than ever it is about the customers and how they choose to engage with their preferred brands. The message is clear: how to keep them loyal and customers for life

In this interview, Zsuzsanna Ferenczi, Co-Founder of Bunes & Ferenczi,  discusses why a business should take success to the next level by redefining competitive advantage that ensures and fosters customers’ continued growth.

What is value creation, and why does it need to be strengthened?

Customers no longer trust companies with what they promise to achieve without understanding whether the solution brings sustainable and relevant value. They need to understand how the provider connects them to their strategic goals and how they will provide value in the long run. In fact, they challenge businesses to serve them competitively and meaningfully.

It is now imperative for a business to strengthen and base competitiveness on value creation with the current business landscape. Otherwise, customers will raise their hands and move on to your competitors. 

To build a relationship with a lasting and significant impact, you must: 

  1. Recognize what value customers expect and receive throughout their journey. 
  2. Have a clear understanding of your customer’s profiles. Who are they now, and who do they want to be? What motivates them to search for your product or service? What are their needs or pain points they are looking to solve? 
  3. Create a shared vision where it outlines how you aim to solve or deliver the success that customers want or expect.

When businesses have clarity of their value creation it enables them to deliver or improve their competitive advantages. Value creation is unique to every entity. It is an integrated process that showcases or demonstrates the brand’s mission, purpose, core competencies, and unique value proposition. Strengthening this allows the brand’s effort to be relevant, consistent, and focused on helping customers succeed. 

Why is this important for continued customer growth?

As customers shift from on-premise to the cloud, the focus of most B2B or large tech companies has changed, from acquiring new customers to improving customer retention. That is because customer retention has a direct impact on CTLV (customer lifetime value) and profitability. 

When businesses are able to keep customers longer, it provides a proof point to their capability to create long-term, sustainable value. However the market is constantly changing, customers change, the ecosystem changes, new competitors arise. As a solution provider acquiring new customers must be a substantial part of your growth strategy regardless of your retention ratio. 

The strategy of how you acquire customers however must take into account the market evolution. Similar to the Formula 1 race – the seasons change year after year. Driving your growth strategy with the rules of the previous season would not necessarily be a winning strategy anymore.  It should constantly evolve how businesses should position their business value to their customers. Questions such as: Will new customers really benefit from the same solution’s value in the long run? Can they deliver it the same way to their existing customers? How do they differentiate themselves from the rest of the competitors? Are really important parts of your ongoing go-to-market planning and execution.

Our focus as a company has always been on sustainability, value creation, and continuous customer growth. It is not enough to show or demonstrate our solution’s value and expect customers to be successful. We need to define our respective goals as a team, and it should focus on measurable outcomes. 

There are several ways we can achieve this goal. First, we must be clear from the start how customers will benefit from the solution’s value. Second, how should we deliver it? Last, what should it take for customers to achieve its success by leveraging it? 

A high level of awareness and appreciation of our competitive business advantage allows us to deliver or fulfill our brand promise. In other words, the business value is the customer’s oyster; all we do is to show them how to open, maximize, or leverage it. 

Please stay tuned for the second part of Zsuzsanna’s interview, where we will continue our discussion about why strengthening competitive advantage leads to continued customer growth.

This article was originally published here.