ROI of Values-Based Marketing

How do I know that values marketing will really work? What type of ROI will I get?

The benefits and ROI of values-based marketing are backed by scientific research. Research has shown that values-based marketing can produce far-reaching effects by connecting with customers at the level of their root motivations. Increasingly, customers are viewing brands and products as interchangeable. Brand loyalty is decreasing, and customers are no longer swayed by outbound marketing messages trumpeting the advantages of one brand’s offering over another. Soap is soap, in the eyes of today’s savvy customer, and they are tuning out flashy marketing messages that are insensitive to their deeper, psychological needs, or even worse, manipulative.

But research has shown that purchases that connect with a person’s core values are more beneficial not only for that individual purchase and customer, but for increasing the likelihood that the purchase will be shared with others as well. A recent study found that the more a purchase is an expression of the person’s values, the more likely:

• They will share information about the purchase, both online and via word-of-mouth
• They will write an online review of the purchase
• They will do a great deal of research before buying
• They will involve others in the research process
• They will spend more money on the purchase

A values-based marketing campaign will therefore likely be targeting not only individual customers, but also their entire network of friends and family as well. Because of that ripple effect, a value-based campaign will result in a 6% increase in social media sharing over a traditional marketing campaign. Though the expected value of this increase will vary by domain, some research has shown that for a typical product, each social media share is worth about $3 in increased sales. Thus, a typical product stands to see an increase of $18 in sales for every 100 units sold with a value-based campaign strategy.

But it’s not just about sharing the purchase with others. In order for a business to thrive in today’s marketplace where customers have a multitude of choices, it needs to keep its customers happy and speak to those higher-order needs mentioned earlier. And a great deal of research indicates that when people spend money in ways that align with their values, their psychological needs are better satisfied and they become happier people. For example, research has shown that spending money on others leads to more happiness than spending money on oneself. However, not everyone gets a happiness boost from spending on others. Studies show that only people with a certain set of values became happier from spending on others. So before a marketer puts resources into targeting a certain audience, she needs to understand how values influence their thought process before she can craft a campaign that will resonate with that audience.

Values-based purchases carry other benefits for the customer as well. Because value-based purchases are central to a person’s identity, they will invest more resources in the entire purchase experience and will involve others as well, making the process a more socially motivated experience. Because research suggests that social experiences are better for a person’s well-being than solitary experiences, value-based purchases will often lead to greater satisfaction and well-being from the purchase, both immediate and long term.

In today’s marketplace, sharing and customer happiness has become key to a brand’s success. Customers now take purchasing cues from their friends and family far more than they do from marketers. Some of the most successful viral marketing campaigns in recent memory (such as Dove, Chipotle, and Wal-Mart) have one thing in common – they resonate with people’s values, in addition to entertaining and/or promoting the product. We all enjoy a good cat video or crazy athletic trick once in a while, but how many of these make the video’s creator stick in your mind, or keep you coming back to their channel for more? It’s those that touch people on an emotional, value-based level that create lasting brand relationships that will generate loyalty for years to come, and will satisfy the needs of both business and customer.


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