I used to teach a services marketing class at university and one day we were discussing Lovelock’s flower analogy where the core service is surrounded by supplementary petals. Someone asked what was more important – the core or supplementary elements of a service?
Of course, the obvious answer is that it’s the whole flower that has the value. Without the petals the core itself is not that attractive. Yes you have to deliver on your core service but it is often the way you arrange the supplementary elements that delivers true value for your customers.
Often when people are putting bids together they spend too much time (and space in the document) focusing on the core and not enough on the added-value they bring to the table (petals). When you are evaluating tender submissions from 50 companies you have a general expectation that most will be able to deliver on the core requirements so you look for people who can do it better, faster, smarter and the best price and minimum overall risk.
It’s not so much what those supplementary elements are, but the different combinations of them that can personalise the brand experience for the purchasing organisation.
Looking for a competitive advantage? Why not experiment with different combinations of petals. You could come up with something new just by thinking differently about what you have.