Many prospects come to us needing help with their business, or a new business idea. Their products and services are well thought out and deserve to find an audience, but often their value isn’t effectively articulated. So part of our work with clients is to bring clarity around their unique value proposition.
A value proposition is how your product or service solves/improves problems, what benefits customers can expect, and why customers should buy from you over your competitors.
Identifying and articulating your unique value proposition establishes success for both marketing and sales. A well thought-out value proposition gives you a competitive edge and sets your business up for continued growth. It’s also key in boosting conversion rates, leading to increased revenue.
Unfortunately, many businesses don’t spend the time fully developing their value proposition or don’t know how to communicate it well. If a value proposition is too vague or even confusing, it can lead to wasted resources, unclear messaging, and miscommunication with customers.
What a value proposition is and is not
Your value proposition is your unique identifier. Without it, people don't have a reason to work with you over somebody else.
While your value prop should help differentiate you from the rest of the industry, keep in mind it's not a slogan, tagline, or even a way to position yourself in the market.
So what is a value proposition?
A value proposition articulates:
- How your product solves problems and improves situations for your personas
- What specific benefits can your customers expect
- Why customers should buy from you over your competitors
What is not a value proposition?
While it may be challenging to go beyond products and features when creating your proposition, doing so is essential.
A value proposition is not:
- A product and and its features
- A catchphrase or slogan
- An incentive
- A mission statement
Is your value proposition effective? Here are 4 steps to diagnose it
Are you sure that your value proposition is up to the task? Ask yourself the following questions to see whether your value proposition is effective:
- Can you articulate it passionately?
- Do your employees understand and support it?
- Does it stand out against the competition?
- Is it applied in your marketing and sales material?
- Does it shine through in your brand?
1. Start with your customers and not your product/service
A value that you may feel is exceptional can be meaningless to your prospects. Understanding your customer segments is crucial for assessing or crafting a new value proposition.
- Ask what tasks/jobs your customers are trying to complete
- What pains do your customers have (functional, social, emotional)
- What outcomes and benefits do your customers want to achieve
- Assess what are the most important jobs, most extreme pains and essential gains
2. Map how your products/services create value
Now work with your team to map out your products and services, and how they remedy the pains that your customers experience or how they create benefits for these customers.
- List all the products and services of your offering
- Outline how your products/services alleviate customer pains. Are they alleviating the most crucial pains?
- Outline how your product/services produce outcomes and benefits that your customers expect? This can include functional and social gains, positive emotions and cost savings.
3. Tweak or craft your value proposition
With this information, you can now work to write and refine a value proposition. Remember that great value propositions focus on alleviating specific pains and creating specific gains. Great value propositions make explicit how your product or service will ease pains and create gains for your customers.
- Ask what is the relevancy of that statement to your customer’s pain or gain?
- What are the specific benefits that you offer?
- What differentiates you from the competition?
4. Test it!
Once you’ve created your value proposition, you need proof that customers actually care about it. Unfortunately, this step is often overlooked. 54% of marketers do nothing to optimize their value propositions. Testing your value proposition is an easy way to be more effective than your competitors.
Instead of relying on current customers, ask people unfamiliar with your brand to read your value proposition. Ask them what their impressions are, if they are clear on what the product is and what the benefits are to the ideal customer.
Your value proposition isn’t something that’s directly shared with customers, but it should form the basis of every product or service you create, as well as all your marketing strategies.
When working with clients, we start by getting clear on the key value their product or service offering brings to the market, so that together we can either develop a new value proposition, or better articulate their current one.
This makes us more effective in the work we do next. We then provide branding and marketing solutions that connect back to the value that is being created for the customer, and with this approach we deliver results.