A value proposition is best described as the intersection between what your customers want and what only you can provide them. It’s what differentiates you from your competition and the reason why your customers choose you.
Effective marketing happens when we communicate the right value proposition to the right audience at the right time. We can’t rely on a one-size-fits-all value statement, because we’re going to be communicating to different audiences during different phases of the buying cycle.
What one buyer wants to hear when they’re just getting to know your company will be very different from what they want to hear when they’re choosing between your product and your competitor’s, and they’ll both be different for a different buyer!
To be sure you’re ready with the right message, you’ll need to create the following value proposition statements:
This may seem daunting, but if you’ve already completed your competitor analysis and created your buyer personas, you’re halfway there. And don’t get bogged down trying to make your value propositions sound like taglines, there’s plenty of time to wordsmith later. What’s most important is being able to clearly and concisely state the problem you’re solving and what sets you apart.
Below is an outline of how to create the different value propositions you need. We’ve also created this Value Proposition Worksheet to help walk you through the process.
Product or service value propositions
I suggest starting with your product or service value propositions as they tend to be the easiest, and you can use them as baselines for your company and buyer persona propositions. Refer back to your competitive analysis to help brainstorm answers to these questions:
– What does this product or service do?
Company and brand value propositions
Depending on the variety within your product/service portfolio, your Company/Brand value proposition will either be the same as that of your product(s) or represent the value of the company as a whole. For example, Lyft offers a single service (app-based ride sharing) and thus has the same value proposition as a company as its service: rides in minutes.
At the other end of the spectrum is Apple, which offers a wide variety of products that each have their own value propositions. The iPhone’s value proposition is a phone that offers a unique experience, and the iPad’s is a lightweight yet highly technically advanced laptop.
The Apple brand’s value proposition is the umbrella over all of its products: unique, stylish design, security, and intuitive user interfaces.
Look at the product/service value propositions you created. What do they have in common?
Buyer persona value propositions
Each of your buyer personas faces their own set of challenges and has their own set of goals and objectives in relation to your offer. While your product or service might offer similar value to every buyer (say, ease of use), digging deeper to uncover how that benefit impacts each persona specifically will make your marketing messages exponentially more effective.
Let’s say your company sells specialized accounting software and are the only company in the market offering 24/7 support. Both IT and Finance leadership will have decision-making authority on the deal, and each will value the 24/7 support, but for different reasons. IT will like that your product won’t strain existing resources or require additional headcount, and Finance will like the promise of minimal downtime should issues arise.
By speaking to each buyer’s individual pain points and motivations, you create a more meaningful message that conveys real, tangible value to each decision maker.
Whatever it is that you sell, identifying your unique value to customers will help you craft strong communications that set you apart from the competition. If you feel you’re too close to your business to objectively identify your value propositions, we’re here to help: just send us a note.
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