What Customers Truly Value? 30 Elements (Bain)

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Chloe Xu
Director, Australia

What Customers Truly Value? 30 Elements (Bain)

Marketers have generally spent much time and effort on the pricing side of the value equation (marketing mix), because it is the easier part. Given the psychological complexity and analytical difficulty, few studies have been done to understand what customers truly value, allowing companies to improve the value proposition of their brands / products.

Almquist, Senior and Bloch (2016) identified 30 ‘elements of value’ in 4 categories of customers' needs – functional, emotional, life changing, and social impact. These comprise the universal building blocks of value that customers normally appreciate. The survey conducted by the research team indicated that offering certain optimal combinations of value elements improve customer loyalty and as a result revenue growth and company performance.

Interestingly, the research also found three patterns of value creation worth of special notice:
  • SOME ELEMENTS MATTER MORE THAN OTHERS. Perceived quality is the king, and no other elements can make up for a significant shortfall on it. The critical elements after this vary from industry to industry.
  • DIGITAL FIRMS ARE PERCEIVED AS OFFERING MORE VALUE, excelling on elements of "Saves time" and "Avoid hassles".
  • MULTICHANNEL BUSINESSES STILL WIN ON CERTAIN ELEMENTS, such as some emotional and life changing elements. Combining online and physical channels (Bricks and Clicks) is proving to be more powerful than either one alone.
The 30 elements can help companies to identify new value to offer, and to refine their product design, delivering more elements. Also they can help identify where customers perceive the company’s strengths and weaknesses.

To allow the above, creating customer value needs to be put as a priority on the agenda of company leaders and it has to be regarded as a key discipline in certain areas like product development, pricing, and customer segmentation. Also there should be someone in the company to explicitly think about, manage, and monitor value.

Source: Almquist, E., Senior, J. and Bloch, N. (2016). The Elements of Value: Measuring and Delivering What Consumers Really Want. Harvard Business Review, 94 (September), pp.47-53.


Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

Customer Value | Consumer Value

Thanks for sharing. I agree that customer or consumer value, sometimes also referred to as "customer... Sign up

S. Lago
Business Consultant, Canada

Customer/Consumer Value and Service

An often forgotten aspect of customer value is customer service. Studies have been done which repeat... Sign up

Marcel Wiedenbrugge
Consultant, Netherlands

What is (Customer) Value and Why is it So Important?

In our book "Customer Profit Hacking" we describe customer value in terms of productivity, which is ... Sign up

Norman Dragt

Some Critical Remarks on the 30 Elements

I do wonder how they made this distinction between the 30 elements and how it is possible to create ... Sign up

Donny Le
Entrepreneur, United States

It's Silly to Go After all 30

It turns out that by scoring high on MOST of those elements DOES equate to higher profits, although ... Sign up

HR Consultant, Zimbabwe

Customer Value? Start with your Employees!

I tend to agree with @S. Lago on promoting a culture of making employees happy in the organization i... Sign up

Norman Dragt

Negative Customer Value

As this is just hear say, so I am not sure, but Steve Jobs seemed to work with a negative value name... Sign up

Chloe Xu
Director, Australia

How to Measure and Manage your Customer Value

Customers are the key to any business and to create and keep customers should be the true purpose of... Sign up


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