Appeal

Appeal: Does your value proposition actually make customers say, “I want this product or offer”?

Startups can reveal some pretty enlightening information about what makes a successful value proposition. After all, unlike established companies with divisions and brands and patents and factories and distribution networks, the main asset many startups have is their value proposition (often communicated as an “elevator pitch”).

CB Insights recently conducted a post-mortem of more than 100 failed startups to try to figure out what went wrong. 

 

The top reason they failed — “No market need,” cited by 42%.

To put that into marketing terms, their value proposition had no appeal.

Appeal is one of the sub-elements of the patented value proposition heuristic developed by MECLABS Institute, parent research organization of MarketingExperiments. This thought tool has been created to help companies understand what elements are necessary for a forceful value proposition, and how to optimize those factors.

 

But what is appeal exactly? It is the unspoken desire of the customer — “I want this.”

It is not, however, marketing. Or advertising. Or incentive. And here’s where the confusion often comes in.

 

You can’t advertise your way out of having no appeal

Well, I guess it is possible. If you have enough money. If you can flood the market with your ads, and work sweetheart distribution deals with key stores and resellers, sure, you could be successful.

But for most companies, advertising and marketing is not where appeal should originate. An incentive should not drive the appeal.

The appeal should be intrinsic to the product, service, experience or offer presented to the customer.

Then, marketing’s role is to tap into the discovered appeal with messaging that clearly and credibly communicates that appeal.

 

And you can’t dictate appeal

I’m sure you’ve been in meetings where this has happened. The highest-paid person comes up with an idea for a new feature or product that they are interested in, and pushes the idea through creation and marketing because he thinks customers will want it as well.

Except the elephant in the room is this: Everyone knows that most customers won’t care.

Product development must emanate from what is appealing to customers, not thrust upon them.

Sure, there is the occasional golden gut like Henry “If I had asked my customers what they wanted they would have said a faster horse” Ford.

But what would have been so bad about asking? That customer knowledge — customers want faster transportation — could be combined with key decision makers’ business wisdom to create a product that is an alternative to a horse, but yet still delivers the main element that would be appealing: increased speed.

 

Appeal is a core truth

Appeal is a deep, core truth to why customers want your product and respond to your offers.

It is the delivery of a value they either want or need, and a powerful enough delivery of that value that they will overcome the cost, both monetary and non-monetary (time, friction, etc.), to obtain it.

 

How to leverage appeal to improve marketing performance

  • Listen. Whether it’s through social media listening, conversations and surveys of customers, or meetings with customer-facing employees like Customer Service and Sales, be open to what customers are telling you. If one customer or sales rep says one thing, you haven’t necessarily identified the appeal. However, once you start seeing a pattern, it will become pretty clear that you should test some changes to the product or offer. For example, Gregory Casey, User Experience Designer and Architect, eBags, would go into customers’ homes and watch them shop to help understand what is appealing to his ideal customer about the experience of buying handbags.
  • Segment. There is not a single compelling appeal for all of your customers. The better you segment, the better you are able to appeal to specific customer types and understand the different elements of your product that are appealing to them. For example, way back in 2000, ePrize understood that what would appeal to large and small merchants in an online banner ad about sweepstakes was very different, and was able to generate 0.5% banner clickthrough by targeting that appeal.
  • Experiment. Understanding who your groups of customers are (segmenting) and then listening to what those customers want should be used to inform behavioral experimentation designed to discover what appealing messaging will actually encourage them to take action. For example, we ran a PPC ad test to help understand what was most appealing about MarketingExperiments.
  • Message. Once you have identified your product’s or offer’s appeal, you must message it in a way that also expresses the exclusivity of the offer to help create an effective value proposition. After all, if something is appealing, but your ideal customer can buy it in many other places, why should they buy it from you?

 

You can follow Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS Institute, @DanielBurstein.

 

You might also like

Boost Your Online Ads: Strengthen your value proposition by focusing on your “only factor” (interactive research brief)

Search Engine Marketing: Finding appeal for your PPC Ads

Value Proposition Development online course [From MECLABS, parent research organization of MarketingExperiments]


MarketingExperiments Blog: Research-driven optimization, testing, and marketing ideas

Sex Appeal: Site Designs with Masculine, Feminine and Neutral Appeal

It seems to be that some colors, shapes and effects have a different appeal to both genders, and some can be equally as appealing to both. This can be a dilemma for designers when they design for gender-specific sites or universal sites.

Making your site or project appeal to your target audience in terms of gender is not easy – there is a fine line between the variations, so here we have rounded up some examples of website design that appeals to men, some that appeal to women, and some that will appeal to both genders. This is possibly a matter of a opinion, and is written from a female perspective.

Website Designs Appealing to Men

These sites have, in general, strong, dark colors, sharp edges, bold shapes and often include the automotive industry, industrial trades, certain sports and technology.

Acme World

This monochrome site is very masculine, with a large, empty industrial unit as their landing page image. As the company is concerned with industrial solutions, it is no surprise that the site has a masculine feel.

Acme World

Currys Tech Talk: The Future is Now

This infographic site produced by the UK electrical outlet Currys, is concerned with the predictions from the film series Back to the Future. They have looked at the things encountered in the future travel, and how close or not we are to actually having those things now. Presented in a turquoise/blue color scheme, this is more appealing to men than women.

Currys Tech Talk

Maxime Rimbert

This is the portfolio site of Maxime Rimbert, a French interactive designer. Using some monochome urban images, with some works featured on a slide show on the landing page (the slide show moves along by dragging the mouse – or, no doubt, swiping on a mobile device). The site definitely has masculine appeal.

Maxime Rimbert

Vredestein – Rock the Road

This tire manufacturer uses a video on their landing page, featuring a fast car, manly men, beautiful women…. imagery that is aimed towards appealing to men, and although things are changing, the automotive world is, at the time of writing, still male dominated.

Vredestein - Rock the Road

Group Atalante

This company offers yacht management, crew management and administration… all for yacht owners. A most beautiful image of a yacht with a reflection of the sea and sky is very appealing to both men and women, but I would think the majority of yacht owners are men, and I would also imagine that men would find this landing page very appealing.

Group Atalante

JOT Automation

This company tests wireless devices. Their site is presented in a predominantly blue color scheme, giving a no-nonsense feel to the site.

JOT Automation

J. Walter Thompson

Here is another site with a predominantly blue color scheme – but the masculine selling point here is the intergalactic image!

J. Walter Thompson

Sites with Feminine Appeal

Females in general are attracted to pastel or light color schemes, soft lines, irregular shapes and the particular niches include fashion, children, family, interior design and food/restaurants.

Frenchmill Studios

Without it being too much of a cliché… this site will appeal to women simply through the pastel to dark pink color scheme, which is traditionally associated with girls/women. The light bulb with wings is also a soft, gentle touch… all in all, visually this site will appeal to women.

Frenchmill Studios

N.Lee Design Bureau

This site’s landing page has a kind of ‘peep hole’ that we are looking into, which gives the impression of sneaking a peek at the working lives of the featured people included in the video. The soft gray colors of the background, along with the pastel colors of the logo and the female dominated video make this site very appealing to women.

N. Lee Design Bureau

Soho Restaurant

The image shown below is like an interior design image, although it is inside the restaurant. This type of image will appeal to women and make them want to visit the restaurant.

Soho Restaurant

Fasett

This site’s landing page has a video that is completely about families – with children, father, mother, all playing with huge bubbles. Traditionally this imagery would be aiming to appeal to women in particular.

Fasett

Cafe Frida

There is no explanation really needed for this landing page – simply a floral background with the cafe’s name in the center.

Cafe Frida

My Very Own Mykita

This is the landing page for an eyewear manufacturer. I wasn’t sure initially whether this would fall into the feminine or neutral category, but the softness of both the color scheme and the moving waves in the center circle tipped it slightly to feminine appeal. Running the mouse over the center circle creates deeper, darker and faster moving waves.

My Very Own Mykita

Kindergarten Firebird

This Russian site uses beautifully aged images of children – both the vintage coloring and the children will appeal to women.

Kindergarten Firebird

Sites with Neutral Appeal

Sites that appeal to both genders often have a mix of both of the descriptions for male and female preferred designs. Colors are often not pink or blue, but orange, green or yellow for instance. The subjects of the sites are very varied, but can include historical sites, real estate, holiday resorts, drink and fragrances.

Il Cambiamento Siamo Noi

This Italian site opens with a very aged image of a horse and cart. The historical aspects of this site will appeal to both men and women.

Il Cambiamento Siamo Noi

Tillamook

This site uses a very dark image of berries on the landing page. Nature is equally as appealing to both men and women.

Tillamook

Daniel Kuhnlein

The landing page of this portfolio site at first glance may seem quite masculine, but the amazing animation effects of color and shape on the 3D head (presumably that of Daniel Kuhnlein) will be appealing to both genders.

Daniel Kuhnlein

Leandro Lima

A very clever design to appeal to both men and women, using a color scheme of blue and pink.

Leandro Lima

EGGFOO

When designing a site that you want to appeal to both genders, you have to think of a cross-gender color scheme… and orange is one solution, that this site uses with beautiful effect.

EGGFOO

Sweet Punk

Just in case you didn’t believe me with the above example, here is another example of orange used in web design that has appeal to both genders.

Sweet Punk

What is Burning Man?

This site uses soft but quite dark pastels, with a diamond shaped grid layout as you scroll down the page – just generally very appealing visually.

What is Burning Man

Conclusion

For general site design, the designers are attempting to appeal to many ages and both genders, but very often the appeal will tilt one way or the other. In this modern age, it is becoming less of an issue as we can all appreciate what would have at one time had strictly male or female appeal. It could possibly be perceived that this round-up is a little controversial as it is no longer politically correct to differentiate between traditional ‘pink for a girl, blue for a boy’, but the fact is that as men and women, in many, many cases, we do have different preferences.

Do you design with gender in mind? Do you think it matters these days? Share your opinions with us.


Onextrapixel – Web Design and Development Online Magazine