Really terrific read in the August 2016 issue of HBR describing 30 universal building blocks of value, each of which addresses a basic human need. A team led by Eric Almquist (partner in Bain & Company’s Customer Strategy & Marketing practice, and the firm's global head of consumer insights) created the pyramid. You can read the article and see the pyramid in its entirety here (I didn't include the full version for copyright reasons).

A snippet of the Customer Values Pyramid (c) Bain & Company and HBR

An excerpt from the Customer Values Pyramid (c) Bain & Company and HBR

Though the article is about how the pyramid powers product and service innovation, the tool is also a terrific resource for content marketers because it gives us a handy guide for determining the purpose of each piece of content beyond the standard marketing brief language like "make people realize we're a terrific source for XX".

Here's an example of how we used the pyramid for planning a white paper on what healthcare organizations can do to reduce opioid abuse and fraud. Based on the information in the marketing brief supplied by the client, we looked for opportunities to meet needs in the pyramid. Here's what we came up with:

  • Functional: Informs readers of proven tactics to mitigate opioid fraud and abuse; the information reduces risk, cost and effort.
  • Emotional: Rewards readers with actionable information that reduces anxiety about patient wellness and organizational financial wellness
  • Life Changing: Provides hope through mini case studies of successful interventions, creates affiliation and belonging by connecting readers with others who are addressing this challenge

Having these higher-order values in mind gives us a deeper, clearer purpose for the content, and guides the writing and revision, especially details, organization, word choice and voice.

This is our first try at this approach. I'll let you know how it goes!