If you’re reading this blog as a business owner, you need to know something pretty vital: Every visitor that lands on your website has three questions in mind:
1. What Do You Do?
2. Why Should I Care?
3. Why Shouldn’t I Simply Choose Your Competitor?
What you need to answer these questions is what’s known as a powerful VALUE PROPOSITION. Let’s begin with the actual definition of this marketing tactic:
A value proposition is a business or marketing statement that summarizes why a consumer should buy a product or use a service.
In essence, this statement should exist to convince a potential consumer that one specific product or service will add “more value” or “better solve a problem” than other similar offerings.
Value Propositions Target Customers
At its proverbial beating heart, value proposition statements are used by companies all the time to target customers who will benefit most from using their products, in turn helping maintain what is known as an “economic moat.” Ideally, a great value proposition is one that’s concise and appeals to the customer’s strongest decision-making “drivers” – indeed, businesses pay a high price when consumers lose sight of its value proposition.
We here at Multiverse Media Group have come to realize that over the past few years, the marketing sector has been fraught with generally vague, confusing and different definitions of a value proposition; the usual references to this marketing approach tend to miss aspects that could render the concept much more useful to anyone reading about it. To be clear, a value proposition is much more than just an “internal tool” that boasts no practical application beyond helping you understand your particular business. Time and time again, we have seen marketing experts fail to grasp the fact that this could be an almost unfair competitive advantage – and this concerns us. It’s no wonder so many businesses don’t boast strong value propositions.
If You Don’t Present a Strong Value Proposition, Your Marketing Lacks Persuasive Substance
There are two necessary building block elements of a value proposition – arguably the most complex concept in business that you’ll ever come across depending on your source of research – and believe us when we tell you that it’s well worth the time it takes to get it just right…because it forms the blueprint for your success. The bottom line is if your value proposition is weak, your business is almost guaranteed to fail.
The two elements of a strong value proposition include:
- The Articulation of Your Value
- Support for Your Value Proposition
Let’s take a somewhat brief look at each of these before diving into the meat and potatoes of this blog, which is understanding the three key ingredients of a successful value proposition.
The Articulation of Value
Put succinctly, “value articulation” refers to the overall perceived value of your product or service. But let’s be clear – it’s not just about the product you may be selling…it’s EVERYTHING potential buyers PERCEIVE as valuable within your offering.
Example: If you buy a car, you aren’t just getting the ability to move around from point A to point B; you’re also gaining the convenience of not needing to wait for the bus, train, or Uber driver.
Bottom line: Your product or service needs to offer a better option than that of your competition in at least one way.
Support for the Value Proposition
This is the aspect of value proposition marketing most people never even heard about, and we can tell you from experience that most of the few who know about it forget it or get it totally wrong. The aforementioned element – the “articulation of value” – basically describes your product’s or service’s value; this second element gives people a reason to believe your offerings are as valuable as your basic message makes them out to be.
What exactly is “believable”?
It’s simple to conjure up a “great promise” about what you’re offering, but actually delivering it can prove much more difficult. If consumers don’t believe you can deliver on what you’re promising, they have no reason to pay any attention to you. These are a few basic ways you can make an otherwise hard-to-believe promise believable and solid:
• Be Specific – Most people won’t believe a “vague” claim; by making a very specific claim or promise, it becomes believable.
• Show the Proof – Is there a study that can prove your claim? Can you easily display the logic behind what you’re saying?
• Guarantee It – Can you guarantee the results you’re promising? And the “30-day money-back guarantee” doesn’t cut it anymore.
• Provide an Easy Way to Test It – A free trial, demo or anything else that allows consumers to experience firsthand that you’re telling the truth removes doubt better than most anything else.
• Let Someone Else Speak for You – Testimonials and endorsements from recognized and respected experts are especially good at building trust.
The Unique Value Proposition Ingredients for Success
Now, let’s move on to getting into the specifics about creating a unique value proposition and look at the three core elements necessary for a successful approach.
A good, powerful value proposition will:
1. Target a Problem
Address the needs of your target market by analyzing what “problems” your potential customers need to “solve” and what’s not working for them… you see, it’s not enough to merely describe the features or capabilities of your offer; your statement must be very specific. Your value proposition must focus intently on what your customers really want and value – do they want to solve problems, to improve on existing solutions, to lead a better life, build a better business, do more, better, faster…?
From experience, we can tell you that many businesses make the mistake of creating a value proposition before adequately understanding and defining the problems they are trying to solve.
2. Quantify the Problem
“Quantifying” a customer’s “problem” through a value proposition is all about creating and communicating a clear and compelling picture of how a solution – yours – will drive business results for said customer. In more marketing-esque terms, this approach requires the translation of the benefits of the solution into high-impact measurable outcomes that make a difference to the consumer. Put in more layman’s terms, it’s where you provide real-world examples of the “problem” and stats or facts that “prove” it is a “problem.” If done correctly, it enables salespeople to maximize the competitive advantages that differentiate the company from their competitors.
3. Provide a Uniquely Differentiating Solution
Do you have a solution that will solve a customer’s “problem” and that is unique compared to your competitors? When customers want to buy your product, it is because your product “solves” their “high-value problems” much more efficiently than the alternatives. But differentiation is not enough: Your solution must be superior, and what we call “superior differentiation” is the VALUE of your product. If you followed all the steps above, now the question becomes whether your product solves the “problem” better than any other competitor. You can even go so far as to ask your customers to compare your product’s concept with alternative offerings and report back on why yours is different.
Here’s what’s essential to remember in the whole value proposition game: Your customer is your ultimate judge for your success.
Questions? Comments? Be sure to leave them below!