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Explaining your value proposition in a changing world

Technology has displaced several professions and is changing the fabric of others – are you equipped to explain how technology has not made you irrelevant?

value proposition

Books and eBooks go head to head

Recently spotted in the wild is the sign above, photographed at The Strand bookstore in New York City, a popular hotspot for locals and tourists alike. With strong competition from digital books, they remind foot traffic that not only are books less expensive than eBooks in many cases, there is never a software upgrade necessary, they are take off and landing approved, require no batteries, and can be read outdoors without glare.

They could have added more appealing features of tangible books like the fact that when you make a purchase, you’ll actually own the book, not just the license to read it, so you can share it or resell it. Additionally, they could point out the NSA can’t tell what page you’re on when reading a physical book, and you can collect a bookshelf full of memories you’ve accumulated as display.

Alternatively, electronic reader manufacturers can outline their benefits ranging from the ability to read the device on its own at night without a lamp, the fact that you can simultaneously carry thousands of books in your device but no your backpack, and that you never have to leave your home or office to add reading materials to your device.

Technology innovates and antiquates

Technology has done amazing things for this world and innovated almost every industry, but it has also left some industries in the lurch as people choose websites over services provided by humans. People say travel agencies are dead, but when I’m booking something complicated or highly important, I still use one because I need my hand held. The real question is – will my kids do the same? Maybe not. But for now, travel agencies should do better to highlight their assets, their value proposition in this changing world. Their fees typically are the amount they save you anyway, and they’ve often been to the very location you’re traveling to and can vouch for it and answer any questions without hoping a stranger online is right about a hotel being plush.

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It’s not just bookstores and travel agents, it’s almost every service industry, retailer, and sales sector. Taking a page from The Strand is smart, because technology has innovated every industry.

For example, most Realtors continue to tout their value is information, but property portals long ago changed the sector, putting transparent information in the hands of consumers (caveat: not all information is accurate, but consumers feel empowered nonetheless, so they don’t see that as a Realtor’s value). The value now in Realtors is the ability to navigate the complicated legal process and negotiate the best possible deal for the client they represent – but it is rare that an agent or broker understands that as their value.

Imagine a real estate office that says in the window “you have the information, we have the keys, we already memorized every housing contract for you, and we all have scary good negotiation skills.” They could even be cutesy 8-bit decals like at The Strand.

You get the picture

You get it. Things are changing, we don’t have to tell you that, but is your head under the sand or are you up front in telling consumers why you are still relevant? This is critical, especially in industries like real estate, travel, bookstores, and the like, because the web makes everything easy, but easy isn’t always better.

Don’t miss an opportunity to advertise why easy isn’t always better – do it through your blog by highlighting case studies, put decals on your windows and car, tweet about it, Facebook it, or get a dang airplane messenger for all we care, just do it. Embrace technological innovations in your own business, but don’t let consumers assume you’re irrelevant – explain your value proposition every day. Every day. EVERY DAY.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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