Creating your business’s value proposition was up for discussion when Squaredot’s MD, Ian Blake, chatted with John Barron, Sales & Marketing Director, Vennetics, on The B2B Podcast recently.
What makes a value proposition more than a catchy statement? “I think the key is that your value proposition needs to be measurable,” said John. “This was a learning for us - being able to measure and improve the value that your product or your company creates. This is the cornerstone of any business strategy, regardless of whether you want to attract new customers or hang onto existing ones”.
Originally conceived as a response to market demand, Vennetics started life 10 years ago as a voiceover Internet Protocol (also voice over IP, VoIP or IP telephony) and at a time when the relevance of landlines was questionable amid rapid technological developments. Vennetics’ solution was a way for companies to save on traditional telecommunications by bundling analog voice calls into packets of data. The packets travel like any other type of data, such as e-mail, over the public Internet and/or any private Internet Protocol (IP) network. Using a VoIP service, you can call landline or cell phones.
Pivoting on the value proposition
As Vennetics established itself and evolved, the realisation that their software could solve more problems than those it had set out to solve, provided the impetus to ‘re-pivot’ the company.
“At the time we were targeting mobile operators. Very simply, it allowed them to extend their service footprint of their customer's phone number to include mobile devices - things like smartphones, laptops, tablets,” explained John. “It was a way for operators to compete with Skype back in the day and it made sense at the time.”
However, a meeting with a new customer saw Vennetics’ question the value proposition with which it had begun, and the realisation that the technology had other uses, emerged.
“One of our customers’ technical team inquired if the source, the multiscreen experience and logic of our solution could be applied to TV and video on demand. Of course, the answer was yes,” said John. “That client was a very interesting and unique company in that not only is it a telco but it's also a TV station. It's like, if Vodafone and RTE or Vodafone and BBC were the one company. They had a huge amount of content and they also had different distribution channels. They wanted to bring that all under one umbrella and to make it easy for their customers to search and discover all the content they had. So we went away and built a solution for them.”
When they were on the cusp of solving a major problem for an important client, Vennetics realised there was an opportunity to deliver a solution that provided a consolidated view of all the online content that was beginning to come on the market. The business was re-pivoted and the value proposition, changed.
A new challenge
‘Browser fatigue’ is a very modern problem - and Vennetics’ solution aims to solve it. John’s new value proposition was centred on a service that made browsing content easy for a user, while also ensuring that the host (Netflix, iPlayer, RTE Player) also gets a piece of the pie. In short, it works with getting buy-in across the board, explained John. “Operators agreed that we needed to address the pain-points around monetising their over-the-top traffic, as well as helping users find the content they want to watch,” he said. In many respects, the challenge of a new value proposition was already mapped out and identified in the solution they had built at the request of a current client. John was also working on the supposition that people will pay for services to help them watch the entertainment they want if it’s easy to use.
The market value of easy-access entertainment
“I’m sure like me, you’ve rented a movie on iTunes or Google Play only to discover that the same movie was available for free on Netflix or Amazon or on the RTE Player, or on the BBC iPlayer. It happens all the time and many times you don’t even realise that you’ve done it,” said John. “Our solution is designed to address that and make sure it never happens again. We provide an aggregated search capability that spans all these content providers, and then we take their content and uniquely curate that into an easy-to-use app”.
Simplification of the act of watching a movie or TV show is integral to Vennetics value proposition and the problem they solve on the market. John alluded to his organisation’s main business strategy, whereby global heavyweights such as Apple or iTunes get a revenue share on any movie or TV show rented or sold via the Vennetics app. “It’s easy to defend our price because of our unique value proposition,” said John. “If you can go to someone and say yes, this costs $20,000 but you can expect to make back $100,000 a month, it's easy for us then to justify a price of $20,000 a month.”
In order to be successful, businesses can’t be too precious about their original idea - or reticent about doing what’s best for the company. By embracing the pivot and working harder to hone the value proposition, success will follow.
“We'd moved from being a voice over IP company to a video on demand TV company,” said John. “We did a lot of work using competitive intelligence tools. We're able to provide our team with a deep understanding of the marketplace and our strengths versus you know, the other types of solutions out there.”
Listen to the full podcast on The B2B Show