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Value and Values: Managing Through Market Cycles in the Ag Equipment Business

Spring 2016

Value: The regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.

Values: Things that you believe are important in the way you live and work; determine your priorities.

The current agricultural equipment market cycle has created many challenges for very successful, well managed companies. As farmers place greater scrutiny on their capital investments, companies are being challenged to more deeply understand and better communicate value and values.

New market conditions emerge as a market progresses through a market cycle. How well companies respond to the new market conditions presents an opportunity to reshape how they are positioned with their customers, and how they are perceived by their employees — their value and values. Furthermore, responsiveness expectations are increasing in today’s increasingly digital economy. While price comparison always matters, social media developments in user-generated content (UGC) are further informing how sentiments inform value perceptions. Reviews and ratings are becoming increasingly influential within the value equation. How well is your company plugged in to your value sentiments?

Value consciousness is a consumer’s expressed tendency to buy products perceived to be good values for the money. Since periods of market adjustment heighten value consciousness, companies must have a deep understanding of how the value they add for their customers is perceived, and how expectations are shifting. That requires knowing where and how they add the most value, and just as importantly, where and how they add the least amount of value.

Customers’ value realization is evolving and changing, forcing companies to change as well, or be left behind.

Effectively executing strategies that emphasize where the most value is added will help shape your company’s focus and customers’ value sentiments. It is important to avoid broad adjustments spread evenly over all operations, and instead, to focus on opportunities to grow areas representing the most opportunity for value extraction while de-emphasizing areas with fewer value added opportunities. This is the inflection point of a company’s value and values.

Remaining focused on who you are as a company, what your brand represents, and what you stand for in the minds of customers will deepen the perceptions of value consciousness beyond price to a broader set of customer value sentiments. Market cycles present an opportunity for thoughtfully executing strategies that allow for value and values to be grown and leveraged.

Context Network has many years of expertise in helping companies execute strategies in market cycles, both in upturns and downturns. Context has developed tools and techniques that assist companies in establishing strategies that best position them at any point in the business cycle.

Context’s unique War Gaming techniques allow companies to better predict the competitive environment they will be facing. Context has also developed unique strategy development tools such as Relative Competitive Product Analysis (RCPA) to provide focused competitive assessment and action plan that goes far beyond the normal SWOT analysis.

The impact of these tools becomes more actionable because they are deployed by Context’s deep ag equipment business knowledge, and backed by years of executive level experience. The Context team has firsthand experience and has realized the opportunities through market cycles from both large ag equipment manufacturers and precision ag companies

For more information, contact Doug Griffin at