There are 542 different banana hangers on Amazon… ranging in price from $5.57 to $384.23. The most inexpensive banana hangers are simple hooks that you mount under your cabinetry. The most expensive banana hanger is this beautiful Chabatree banana hanger that is hand-crafted and made out of sustainable wood resources.
Seriously… I looked them up. I counted the results, sorted them by price, and then did a ton of banana hanger research.
Right about now, you’re asking… What does this have to do with marketing technology… have you gone bananas? (yep, I said it!)
No, this is just a simple article that speaks to product innovation, product choice, and perceived value – as well as how to market yourself, your products, and your services. It’s also how, as a business, you need to prioritize your search for your next solution.
A banana hanger has one purpose and one purpose only… to hang bananas so that they don’t sit on a surface and bruise easily. Surprisingly, the patent is only about 20 years old. Side note… the inventor Bruce Ancona also patented the paper towel holder… seems to be a guy that spends a lot of time in the kitchen thinking about where to put stuff. Back to banana hangers, though…
Over the last two decades, the banana hanger hasn’t become any more innovative than it was back when Bruce put the patent out there. Every banana hanger in the market has the same purpose… to slow your banana’s bruising. In other words, the value of the hanger has not changed. It made your bananas last a few weeks longer twenty years ago… and it makes them last about the same today.
So why would people pay different prices for them? Because each shopper has a perceived value that’s different. Some people would like the convenience of a banana hanger that’s not taking up counter space, so they’ll pay for the under-counter model. Others will appreciate the bowl attachment for other fruit. Others will pay based on the materials and the likelihood that it will look nice in their home. And… still, others will pay $384.23 to support sustainable products and a local artisan who has made a piece of art for your kitchen.
As you think about your products or services, you may not be delivering a product that’s not providing any more or less value to your customer. That’s why it’s absolutely critical to understand how they value your product or service. At times, you need to educate them to help them understand why your products or services may be more (or less) expensive than your competitors. Everyone makes a different banana hanger.
I have a friend of mine that worked as the CEO of a startup for several years. The stress he was under was unbearable. He had investors pressuring him every day, clients pushing for new features, developers that were getting recruited from other companies, and his income was awful as he tried to keep all the pieces together and develop his innovative vision. His business failed as he finally ran out of funds and could no longer afford to hire the talent necessary to deliver.
Years later, I met him for coffee and asked him what he was now doing. He replied that he now owned a lawn mowing company. He had expanded from mowing the lawns himself to now running multiple crews. He was doing fantastic, was less stressed, worked outdoors, and loved it.
I was shocked… from innovator and tech startup entrepreneur to lawn mowing?
His response, the grass keeps growing.
He’s now doing well and his business is booming. Despite the economy, the investment community, government regulation, and competition… the grass keeps growing and he’s able to build and grow (hehe) his relationships as he delivers a quality service. Nothing innovative, just providing hard work and good results on a problem that we’ve had for a century.
In fact, we work in an enterprise platform space where the key players are working so hard to acquire and integrate new products and features, that their core features are behind in the industry. They’re focused on developing the next big thing to drive sales, while their customers are leaving them for better solutions that, more often than not, are less expensive.
Innovation isn’t always a necessity to operate a successful business.
There are plenty of banana hangers. While some hang from cabinets, some have attached fruit bowls, and almost all of them have a bit of a distinct look… they all do the same thing. But, there’s enough demand from consumers that all of these businesses identified the market and began selling their solution there.
Your business is no different. There are other competing products and services that can do what you do. They may even do them better. That means that, as a marketer, you need to be able to educate your audience on why you’re the appropriate fit for them. And it’s also why, as marketers, you must ensure that your authority in your industry is recognized as buyers research your business’ ability to deliver those products and solutions.
The difference in whether people buy one banana hanger or another on Amazon has nothing to do with bananas staying fresh and unbruised… they all do that. The difference is in the ratings, reviews, descriptions, and design of the products. As a marketer, that’s where you have to spend your time – effectively marketing your products and services… the ratings, reviews, description, and design of your products and services.
Do a better job of marketing, and you’ll connect with the customers who want your products and services.
Digital Marketing Products and Services
In the digital marketing community, we have a terrible habit of always looking for the next silver bullet platform or channel that’s going to fix all of our problems. But some of the most profitable and high-growth technology companies didn’t really innovate at all. They just saw the demand and developed the best way to market that they were the best solution for the best value.
You could buy books from anywhere, but Amazon took off. You could buy shoes from anywhere, but Zappos took off. You could build a website with any platform, but WordPress took off. I could list hundreds or thousands of examples.
I’m not stating these companies are not innovative… I’m simply pointing out the results are the same. You received a book, you received shoes, or you launched a website. I believe as the volume, recognition, and growth came to their business… only then could they afford the resources to truly invest in innovation.
Your Business’ Value and Innovation
As you’re looking at your industry, the answer may not be how you do something more innovative or even provide a competitive service that’s less expensive.
Consumers and businesses alike have problems they’re faced with every day that simply want a solution for. Whether it’s hanging their bananas, or it’s automating their writing, design, approval, and publishing process for their next newsletter. The problem exists, their frustration exists, and they already understand the value of a solution.
You don’t need one more feature, the next innovation, or a different price point if the demand exists and the value is recognized. Focus your attention on the core problem your products and solutions provide a solution for.
The Innovation and Value Of The Solution You’re Seeking
We are working with a business right now that purely white-labeled its products to retail outlets. With the pandemic, the lockdowns, and the subsequent collapse of retail, they saw that they needed to incorporate a direct-to-consumer ecommerce option. Not being too technically savvy, they explored solutions and started to speak to sales representatives at different commerce providers.
After looking at all the possibilities, they narrowed it down to the best solution in the market. It could scale infinitely, offered multi-language support, had a myriad of integrations, international tax calculations, had a built-in AI engine, and could handle millions of SKUs. They were sold… ready to invest hundreds of thousands in licensing and even more on hiring us to implement the solution and integrate it to a world-class marketing platform.
We talked them out of it.
While it may have been the best, most innovative solution on the planet, it was most likely going to drive them to bankruptcy or be a decade before they would see a return on investment. They also only had 75 products… a pittance for an ecommerce platform to handle. And they were only going to sell to the United States for the first year or so. The silver bullet was going to kill them.
Our advice was to, instead, invest in research and branding, then implement a simple, off-the-shelf solution with an integrated marketing automation platform where we could focus on growing awareness and driving sales of their products. They just needed a regular ol’ banana hanger… nothing more.
As you’re looking to your business, identifying the pain points within your organization where technology could help you be more effective and more efficient may not require an expensive or innovative solution. It could literally be a software platform that extracts, transforms, and loads data that saves you countless hours of other work down the road.
Perform the same analysis with your customers… where are their frustrations and gaps in how you’re able to service them and keep them happy?
The solution may be both inexpensive and non-technical. There’s a reason why there are 542 banana hangers on Amazon… there are tons of people buying them and a bunch of companies doing quite well at meeting the demands. And the prices vary based on the value the customer sees.