The Elements of Value

William Meller - The Elements of Value
The 'elements of value' pyramid organize basic value offerings at the bottom and aspirational offerings at the top.

How do customers want to be served?

As a result of three decades of consumer research and observation for corporate clients, the authors - all at Bain & Company - identified the "elements of value." B2C and B2B customers' purchasing decisions are guided by Bain's Elements of Value.

Insights explore how companies can move beyond price to offer more value.

Every product has its own value, which is determined by the individual.

There are, however, universal building blocks of value.

Leaders must compare their value offerings with their competitors, close value gaps, and come up with innovative and creative value combinations.

"... When customers evaluate a product or service, they weigh its perceived value against the asking price..."

A hierarchical pyramid, inspired by Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, organizes these elements (30 for B2C and 40 for B2B) into basic and aspirational value offerings.

In this pyramid, the elements are arranged according to four types of needs: functional, emotional, life-changing, and social impact.

These elements, according to the authors, can result in stronger customer loyalty, increased consumer willingness to try a particular brand, and sustained revenue growth.

B2B Elements of Value

What do your B2B customers value? 

B2B pyramids integrate aspects of negotiation, functionalities, classifications of value to businesses, careers, and people, and purposeful dating.

William Meller - The Elements of Value
Picture: Harvard Business Review

B2C Elements of Value

There are some great products that serve a very specific purpose. 

There are other products that hit on several elements, and this mix is what creates differentiation and loyalty.

William Meller - The Elements of Value
Picture: Harvard Business Review

By understanding what your customers really value, you can differentiate your offering, grow, gain share, and the price at a premium. 

With Elements of Value, you can identify what matters most and deliver it efficiently.

The authors use real-world examples to illustrate how companies have used the elements to grow revenue, refine product design, identify customers' strengths and weaknesses, and cross-sell products.

You can use the elements of value frameworks in a jobs-to-be-done analysis to think broadly about what matters most to your customers.


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  1. Nice sharing William! Do you have any other material to dig deep into this subject?

    1. Hey! Thank you for your question! I would suggest this nice interactive graphic from Bain Consulting (the creators):