Two factors comprise the market potential for any product or service – demand and attachment. Demand is about quantity – how many people want what you sell. Attachment is about quality, how much do people want what you sell.
There are some products and services for which there is obvious demand. For example, almost everyone needs a grocery store, a cell phone and the occasional cup of coffee. Universal demand creates extraordinary opportunity. But universal demand also spawns burgeoning supply and intense competition. The harsh reality is, in virtually every sector, supply exceeds demand in a way that isn’t cyclical. We’ve crashed full speed, head first into a world where we have more stuff to sell than people want to buy. And yet, a number of companies in highly contested categories are growing dramatically, even exponentially. How do they do that? What’s their secret?
Their secret is attachment. Attachment is about how much your prospects and customers value the product or service you provide. It’s about the extent to which you improve their lives. And at the highest level, it’s about how your product or service defines or supports your customer’s aspiration and self-image.
There are five fundamental value platforms – what you might think of as the five basic reasons that any customer is motivated to make any purchase. They are:
The platforms of Price/Value and Location/Convenience are rational platforms and very seldom create much attachment. If a Walmart customer discovers that Target has a lower price on laundry detergent this week, that Walmart customer will probably hot-foot it over to Target and load up. She’s not attached to Walmart, she’s attached to the low price, which is relatively easy to replicate.
At the other end of the spectrum, a Nordstrom’s shopper who is motivated by Style/Status or Experience/Lifestyle is unlikely to darken the door of JC Penney, even if JC Penney has the same item at a lower price. Style/Status and Experience/Lifestyle are emotional platforms. They have the potential to invoke powerful feelings and create strong attachment which are almost impossible to replicate.
Effect of Attachment
Let’s think about the effect of attachment in one of the categories with universal demand, grocery stores. Have you ever met a customer of Trader Joe’s? They are borderline rabid. Given half a chance, they’ll regale you (endlessly) of their Trader Joe’s favorites: Two Buck Chuck, Green Papaya Salad, Mango Butter or Chili Feta. To say these folks are attached to Trader Joe’s might be the understatement of the century. And that attachment translates directly into revenue. Think about this: According to Fortune Magazine, Trader Joe’s averages $1,750.00 per square foot in sales. That’s more than double the sales per square foot of competitor, Whole Foods Market.
Now let’s turn our attention ro cell phones. Ever try to pry an iPhone out of the hands of an Apple fanatic? That’s attachment in every sense of the word, attachment that has led to astonishing growth for Apple. Since being released in 2007, well over 100 million iPhones have been sold and Apple has become the most valuable tech company on the planet.
Attachment means your product has become an essential, even indispensable, part of your customer’s life. When that happens, you have a shot at exponential growth that few can match with, let alone surpass!
—Jack Hayhow is Chief Executive Servant of Opus Communications in Kansas City. Opus provides tools and techniques to help business owners build their business. Jack is also the author of two highly acclaimed business books, The Wisdom of the Flying Pig: Guidance and Inspiration for Managers and Leaders and, Breaking Through the Barrier: What Companies That Grow Do Differently