How Invention Makers Define Value: Selling Customers and Businesses

How to Define Value: Selling to Customers and Businesses

MAKO Design + Invent – April 20, 2021

If you are a human being reading this article, you’ve probably eaten something from McDonald’s at least once – maybe even reluctantly. Strange way to start an article, we know. Hear us out though, this article’s more fun than getting an extra toy in your Happy Meal. McDonald’s, while not particularly healthy, offers a multitude of other values for their wide range of customers. Some customers value the convenience of Drive-Thru or 24-hour service. Others might value the affordability of the Dollar Menu. The point here is that depending on who you are, some values might mean more to you than others, or maybe not even at all. Applying the same logic in product development, the best invention makers define values specifically for their different types of customers.


As we talked about in the Customer Segments article, different segments of your customers value different things about your product. At the highest level, invention makers define value for two general segments: business customers and individual customers. Why these two groups? B2C and B2B value propositions are vastly different. It makes sense when you think about it logically. Businesses need to meet a bottom line and will value elements that mitigate the risk of taking on a new product. On the other hand, individual customers are more emotional when it comes to making a purchasing decision. The most successful invention makers create value propositions for both their regular customers and business groups.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the common values to consider.

One way invention makers define value: status.
How Invention Makers Define Value: Selling to Customers
  • Usability: The product or interface is intuitive and easy to use.
  • Health: Self-explanatory, it improves the customer’s health.
  • Aesthetics: The customer likes the way it looks and aesthetically matches other products that enjoy.
  • Status: Ownership of certain brands is equated with certain statuses. Luxury brands, like BMW for example, often signify wealth. As you can see from the render above, even a key fob exudes class.
  • Newness: Your product offers values that your customer didn’t know they wanted or needed – like the advent of the smartphone. 
  • Self-Actualization: It enhances a customer’s inner-feeling of self-worth. 
  • Environmental: The product is sustainable and contributes to a better environment.
  • Ethical: Does your product or business help people in your community or worldwide? Think about fair-trade coffee or the Bombas business model.
  • Social Inclusion: Some people want an iPhone for the sole reason that their friends have one too.
How invention Makers Define Value: Selling to Businesses
  • Lower Risk: Offering guarantees to businesses such as an SLA (Service Level Agreement).
  • Saving Time: Kiva Systems built mobile robotic fulfillment systems that move shelving units to a worker’s location rather than having to walk there. Amazon liked them so much, they purchased Kiva Systems for $775 million in 2012. Which, at the time, was Amazon’s second-largest acquisition in its history
  • Saving/Making Money: The product helps businesses meet their bottom line. Maybe you offer better margins than your competitors or your product is simply easier to sell?
  • Enabling Function: Enabling people in the business to get the job done. For example, a 3D printer has value to us because it enables our team to test prototypes.
  • Convenience: One of the reason’s why our client’s Packhopper is so successful is that it combines a ball hopper and ball mower in a single, portable bag. Typically ball hoppers and mowers are so large and clunky, you need a car to lug them around. The Packhopper is designed both as an over-the-shoulder or rolling bag so users can carry it on foot or bike!
  • Quality: What will customers pay more for?
  • Customizable: Customization, but not at the cost of scale. This could mean offering the same product but in different colors. Our client’s ChaiEasy comes in four different colors to match your style.

MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to small businesses, startups, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry’s leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Feel free to Contact Us anytime for help with your project.

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