Many times businesses are so focused on their own sales and return, that they neglect the very people that provide those sales. I find this on many sites, where there is no information available to make even to slightest decision about the product or about the company.

Contentment for a Dollar
This became very real to me the other day, from the simplest of situations. I went to the store to pick up a few things and saw some Play Dough in the impulse section (where the kids can see and beg for things). It was only a dollar, and they hadn’t played with some for a while, so I picked it up.

No sooner that I got it home than my daughter took it to her playroom, I didn’t see her for the rest of the day. For the next week, she spent hours playing with that Play Dough. Here’s what struck me: That one dollar investment was worth hours of playtime for her and hours of production for me. It kept her busy and allowed us to get many things done around the house. The investment of one dollar provided a massive return on investment for our family.

Do companies realize the return on investment for the consumer?
Information on some sites is so company focused; I have no idea what it can do for me. On other sites, the information is simply presented in a “here it is, now buy it” format, with no persuasive content or helps to convince me to purchase. The winners are those companies that realize that if they sell to the benefit of the customer, they will create a lasting impression.

FisherPrice sells parenting advice more than toys. They provide age-appropriate toy selection advice and how you can educate using toys – they help you be a better parent. makes it fun to buy impulse items that you really don’t need. The goal is to buy it first and before they run out. The loftier goal is to buy the elusive Bag O’ Crap. doesn’t just sell wine, they help you become a little more intelligent about wines – you may be able to even hold your own in a discussion about a Pinot Gris.

Can you Learn from a Shower Curtain?
There are millions of shower curtains for sale. There are hundreds of retailers selling a Periodic Table of the Elements shower curtain. But all of their descritpions are the same. Boring!

Here’s the product description from one adventurous retailer who got my money!

How many times has this happened to you? You’re showering, lathering up your hair, and as you read the ingredients, you notice Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Of course, you know it’s a straight-chain alkyl benzene sulfonate (I mean, who doesn’t?), but you forgot what Laureth is! The horror!
If only you had paid more attention to your Chemistry professor!
This might not remind you what Laureth is (it’s a contraction for lauryl-ether, made from the sulfation of lauryl alcohol, but you knew that), but it’s hard to deny the Periodic Table Shower Curtain’s usefulness. All the time you spend in the bathroom, you might as well brush up on your transition metals, and your lanthanide and actinide series. Jog those brain cells with some steaming hot water, and a giant six-foot tall periodic table.
The Periodic Table Shower Curtain is 71 inches square, and made from 100% EVA Vinyl (Ethylene vinyl acetate, but you knew that), and is semi-transparent with the Periodic Table of Elements printed in large friendly letters and colors.

What’s the Bigger Picture?

  • A family vacation is bonding, memories for a lifetime, and seeing your children marvel at the world, which is invaluable.
  • Toys are more than toys, they are educational opportunities.
  • Software is a time-saver; relieving hours of stress, work, and increasing productivity
  • A hotel is a relaxing and rejuvenating experience – not just someplace to sleep

Obviously, my willingness to purchase more products, buy from a company repeatedly, and recommend to my friends increases as I realize the benefit. Sometimes that realization takes days or weeks, maybe months. I also find that the longer it takes for me to realize the savings or the benefit I received, the greater my personal ROI and the increased perception of the company that provided the product or service. Interestingly, the reverse holds true as well. The worse a product is or is found to be, if it ends up costing me time and money, then my brand loyalty will diminish.

It is obvious that companies make money from selling products, everyone knows that. But how often to you sell value to your customers? How can you help them realize an ROI from their actions?