I recently read an article in the Harvard Business Review called “The B2B Elements of Value” by Almquist, Cleghorn and Sherer, 3 Bain and Company consultants from San Francisco.  It’s a long somewhat complex article with one big take away for me, B2B buyers are people too, and they need to see PERSONAL value to their purchases.   That might seem obvious, but all too often I think it’s forgotten.  When I do value based messaging work with clients, I always push them to include one more emotional and personal statement in their key value messages, but this is often a tough sell.

The 4 Business Layers

I’ve been writing and talking lot about the 4 layers of Breakthrough Messaging, what I call Mythos to Method. In general, this framework applies to the business story and benefits, not the personal ones.  Here’s a quick overview complete with reference links for more on each layer.


TO LEAD YOUR MARKET, you need 4 “layers” to your message – they start at Method (How) move to Money (Business Value/What) and then to Magic (Transformative Story/Why) then to Mythos (Shared Aspiration).

My new LinkedIn Learning Course covers Method and Money.  This is the HOW your product works, and the BUSINESS VALUE delivered, the foundational and motivational layers of your business message.  You can watch the 1 hr course here –  you’ll need to be a subscriber or get a 30 day free trial on Lynda or LinkedIn Learning

My in-person workshops cover Magic and Mythos.  This helps you build your customer’s Hero’s Journey, or how your product magically transforms the business outcomes of your customer. This is the WHY CARE and the shared PURPOSE, the transformational and aspriational layers of your business message.  You can see a “lightening” version of this in my Silicon Valley Product Camp 2018 presentation on YouTube here.

My book, Launching to Leading, covers all four layers of framework, you can buy it here on Amazon or anywhere books are sold.

Making It Personal – Another 4 Layers to Add

But, what about the other 4 layers, the personal.  It ends up, these layers are just the buyer’s personal version of the other 4.  Instead of asking “what’s in it for the business”, we shift our perspective to “what’s in in PERSONALLY for the buyer” at each of these levels.  What’s the foundational value of our product?  The How.  For example, the new agentless endpoint let’s you do updates instantaneously without bothering users.  What’s the Motivational Value to the buyer – You are PERSONALLY done with the update in minutes versus weeks, and there are NO mistakes due to out of date agents, the MONEY.   What’s the Transformational value, the magic, you are now invisible to users and highly efficient in the eyes of your boss. And the Aspirational destination, a place with protection without disruption, created by YOU.

The Bain study found up to a 6x improvement on NPS score and a 60% improvement on likelihood to repurchase on customers of vendors who communicate both business and persoanl value in their messaging.  So, while 8 layers of message may seem like a lot, it can really make a beautiful cake.



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