Let me define what I mean before I relate it to the lighting industry. Much has been written about the value proposition, the almost holy value proposition. It’s a simple question: tell me what value you bring to the market; what makes you better than your competition? We have to teach it at the under-graduate and graduate level in any marketing course and I have often wondered that maybe we place too much emphasis on it. Well, we don’t. A compelling value proposition is the essence of all our selling efforts. In its simplest terms, a value proposition is a positioning statement that explains what benefit your product or service provides for your customers and how you do it uniquely better than your competition. It’s what you actually provide that is tangible or intangible and everything else your customer needs to make it acceptable to them as a solution. Well, that does sound like VALUE! Warren Buffet tells us that we sell on price while customers buy on value.
With that said, I think I just justified why we must sell on the Whole Customer Value-Added Proposition, with emphasis on value-added. In the high-tech digital world that we now find ourselves, my view is that we must expand the concept and must address three (3) distinct / essential offerings and they must all work together:
- The Product
- The Solution
- The Service
Now let’s look at the transition happening in the lighting industry…..and the Whole Customer Value-Added Proposition necessary if you intend to play in this new game.
Let’s first deal with THE PRODUCT…..tangible lighting products. Back in 1879, we experienced a disruptive innovation called the Edison bulb. Disruptive because it would eventually replace every kerosene lamp in the marketplace, and lead to the life changing electric power industry. For the first 50 years, it was all about quantity of light, then and who really knows when, quality of light became a focus. Quantity and quality of light for over 100 years was the value proposition. Then innovation took the form of longer life; then energy efficiency. All contributing to the evolution of a vibrant lighting industry. Disruptive innovation is happening again, right now, as every lighting source commercially available will be replaced by solid state lighting. The value-added value proposition is back to quantity and quality of light. Long-life and energy efficiency are off the table as it is intrinsic with SSL. When the possibilities are 300 lm/W and 100K hours of long life, let the innovators do their work and we get the benefit.
Next, THE SOLUTION: it’s not just about light anymore, right? Light has always had ancillary benefits but now, we are talking about allowing us to manipulate the timing / intensity / tuning of light leading to incalculable benefits in our living and working activities. To explore how lighting products can solve a pain point. We are in the early stages of light becoming a value-added solution to many industry problems, dealing with improved productivity and increased performance. We are finding lighting solutions wherever lighting is found and it’s everywhere:
- Human Centric
- Education / Institutional
- Outdoor / Streetlighting
- Many other market segments: home, hospitality, commercial, industrial, on and on……
- Where there is light, there will be a value-added solution, maybe for the first time.
SERVICE: if it’s not about light anymore then what is it about? It’s about IoT / IoE / PoE / VLC / Li-Fi / VoIP / SAE / Big Data / Big Networking / LaaS and much much more… It’s the LaaS, I want to address. Lighting as a Service! If lighting has the potential to be the core connector to every electronic / digital device you own, we are not talking about traditional customer service: having the right product; in the right place; at the right price. That’s so yesterday….it’s just not enough of the whole value proposition. If we believe the solution to today’s lighting systems must be a managed solutions dependent upon correctly designing / building quantity and quality of light, that requires intelligent specifications, competent installation, ongoing accurate measurement and monitoring, then we have no choice……expanded services will play a more significant role, value-added and ongoing. It will include a financial service that offers intelligent control, connectivity and data collection as well. We will be asked to guarantee both the savings and performance for the entire design life of the solution, beyond providing just illumination. LaaS is a game-changer, a chance to create new user services. Don’t believe me, check out Craig DiLouie’s article in Electrical Contractor: Lighting at Your Service: This Business Model Is Gaining Popularity and tell me what you think: https://www.ecmag.com/section/lighting/lighting-your-service-business-model-gaining-popularity