How to Reach Customers in an Age of Value Based Marketing

With 2018 still a blank canvas, we gathered great ideas about value based marketing at PCMA’s Convening Leaders in Nashville, Tennessee. Right now, the marketing and events industries are at a huge turning point – and the big question is how leaders can innovate their traditional experiences to appeal to an audience that has rapidly changed how they choose the products and services they consume.

A poignant message came from Greg Bogue’s Keynote “More than a Meeting: A Movement.” Based on his extensive research, he’s found that instead of focusing on purchases that feel secure or communicate success, customers are now making buying decisions based on their personal values. This is a huge shift that can help reframe our ideas into a value based marketing strategy.

That means your brand needs to clearly answer this question for your customers: “What can you offer me?”

Here’s how Bogue explained how to do it – and we’ll show you a brand that’s doing it right.

Authenticity is Key

Bogue mentioned that with all the ads and content people are forced to consume each day, they’re over being “sold to.” Viewers are not interested in your “marketing speak,” and they certainly don’t want to feel tricked into researching your product.

On top of that, when potential customers are looking to find products that align with their values, a list of product features won’t convince them to buy. Instead, you have to tell your product’s story.

So, throw away any of your copy or campaigns that don’t feel like storytelling and don’t feel relatable to your audience. Stick with an authentic voice instead.

People Want Experiences, Not Things

You want proof of this? Just think of the explosion of the sharing economy, says Bogue. If you want to “Live like a Local,” all you have to do is to check into an AirBnB. In a world where daily moments are being scrutinized on social media, people want to spend their money on eye-catching experiences instead of typical vacations.

That means you can’t just see your product or service as a “thing,” and you can’t market it that way. Instead, consider how your brand can fit into your target’s lifestyle. How do your service and product enhance the way your users live?

Products and Services are a Means of Self-Expression

With the help of social media, the content that people consume – videos, memes, articles – now easily become a part of their curated self-image when they share on their profiles. This means you have to be extremely in-tune with what your customers think of themselves and their aspirations.

It can be easy to get too inspirational here, however. Remember: you want to keep everything authentic. If you’re telling your viewers about how cool your product will make them and your campaign comes off corny, suddenly you look like Hillary Clinton doing the Nae-Nae (good try Hillary).

Customers Want to Be Connected

Whether you realize it or not, what you sell creates a community. Bogue says that this can be as literal as a community created by an association through membership, or as abstract as uniting people who feel they make a difference by buying organic. Either way, these groups of people are inspired by something bigger than themselves.

How can you facilitate these connections further?  How can you illustrate that community through your marketing?

Streamline the Experience

People are busier than ever. And we’re getting used to streamlined user experiences. That’s why you can’t expect your audience to feel excited while they’re dragged on a complicated venture to buy your product or make it work.

You need to offer people a full, complete service that’s easy to use and understand. Make yourself a convenient, one-stop shop.

Value Based Marketing Strategies that Work

Ancestry.com has a product where you can send in your genetic material to find out your cultural heritage and make family connections. It’s called AncestryDNA. To make an impact on their target market, Ancestry.com decided to tell the stories of those who have used their product to reclaim a lost sense of community and truly connect to their past.

How does this video successfully align the product with consumer values? Let’s take a look.

Authenticity: This is the true story of someone who used their product. On top of that, it’s an extremely interesting and engaging story with many layers to the plot and an overall positive message. Told in a documentary style, this video invites the viewers to experience Thomas Evans’ point of view on the product and how it inspired him.


Experience: The message of this story is clear: AncestryDNA is more than just a product. It’s a starting point for a journey you can take into your heritage.

Self-Expression: Perhaps the most successful aspect of this campaign is that it illustrates how Ancestry.com’s product helps their customers express themselves. By learning from Thomas Evans’ story, the audience has clear knowledge that AncestryDNA can help someone further understand their identity.

Connection: The video not only showed the connection of Thomas Evans’ community, but also helped potential customers understand that AncestryDNA can connect them to the higher purpose of exploring their roots.

Streamlined: AncestryDNA is easy to use, with a clean interface shown in the video. It provided enough information for Evans to be inspired to create an artistic movement – so it should be enough for the average user!

When you market towards your target audience’s values, you’re communicating in a much more impactful way than traditional marketing. To use value based marketing successfully, you need to truly understand the needs of your customers. In the end, taking the time to know your audience, not just trying to sell them, can only lead to a better relationship between you and your potential clients.


Updated on February 10, 2020.

Leah Eder, Marketing Coordinator and Blog Editor at Green Buzz Agency. Emily Herman contributed to this post.