“It’s hard to make our value proposition stick with customers.”
Sound familiar? Preparing a compelling value proposition for your business is backbreaking work.
In fact, creating an impressive value proposition often ranks in surveys as one of the hardest tasks faced by business owners. Value propositions aren’t just for marketing, either. A well-made value proposition can highlight what your product is really worth to your customers, so you know where to focus resources, too.
Today I’m going to give you a flash of my process for creating value propositions that resonate with customers.
What is in a value proposition?
A value proposition is more than the main reason a prospect should buy, and it’s more than why someone should choose you over a customer.
If you simply focus on reasons why prospects should buy from you, you’re not necessarily differentiating yourself from the competition (they may be strong on those points too!).
Although it’s better to focus on points of differentiation from your customer, you may end up stressing points of differentiation which don’t matter to your target customer.
A great value proposition should focus on the few elements that matter most to target customers. Here are a few of my favourites:
“Twitter is a global platform for public self-expression and conversation in real time. By developing a fundamentally new way for people to create, distribute and discover content, we have democratized content creation and distribution, enabling any voice to echo around the world instantly and unfiltered.”
Source: Twitter IPO filing
Twitter’s value proposition emphasizes what matters to its target audience – the fact that it is global, public and real time.
By combining elements of text messaging, blogging and broadcasting, Twitter essentially invented a new form of communication, which makes it far easier for anyone to make themselves heard.
People “take to Twitter” to put news out because it is often the fastest way of doing so.
“Skype’s text, voice and video make it simple to share experiences with the people that matter to you, wherever they are.”
As alternatives (such as WhatsApp) have started to emerge, Skype now focuses less on “making calls for free” in favour of its multimedia capabilities.
Skype is still the medium of choice for people staying in touch with relatives abroad (it’s so easy to use, your grandmother can use it), and it’s hard to replace the intimacy of a video call.
“Seene lets you capture, share and discover 3D photos easily & instantly, all on your iOS or Android phone.”
3D photos feels like something from the future – and you can share with people who are cross platform.
“Duet is the first app that allows you to use your iDevice as an extra display for your Mac using the Lightning or 30-pin cable.”
As people ditch their iPads in favour of laptops, many people have been looking for a way to use an iDevice as a second screen.
Here, Duet is playing on the value of being first (and only at this point). When competition inevitably arrives, they may need to evolve their message.
“Secret lets you see what your friends are really thinking and gives you a look into what’s going on around you, wherever you may be. You can share your thoughts, comment on the thoughts of others, and chat directly with other Secret users.”
Who doesn’t want to know what their friends are really thinking?
“Our mission: Make cities easier to use. We’re reinventing the transport app for the world’s most complicated cities.”
Source: Citymapper About
Navigating a city is complicated. Citymapper provides intelligent recommendations on which routes you should take.
“Hyperlapse from Instagram features built-in stabilization technology that lets you create moving, handheld time lapses that result in a cinematic look, quality and feel—a feat that has previously only been possible with expensive equipment.
Source: Instagram Blog
Hyperlapse makes it very easy to produce Martin Scorsese-esque panoramic shots using only an iPhone. Instagram’s generally creative audience cares a lot about photo quality (reflected in the range of filters) and ease of use.
Tile is a helpful, easy way to find anything.
Source: Tile App
Tile zeroes in on its distinctiveness. Tile enables you to find anything – not just your iPhone.
“Banks charge hidden fees when you send money abroad. With TransferWise you save up to 90%. Problem solved, money saved.”
Transferwise sets itself up as a consumer champion against the banks, focusing on a tangible point of difference that can be quantified in monetary terms.
All of the above examples show the value of investing time and effort into creating your value proposition. If Transferwise or Skype were going to develop a new service, they would choose to allocate their limited resources in a way that generated the most additional value around their core value proposition.
For me, a great value proposition is distinctive (it shows how the company is superior to the competition), measurable (I love Transferwise’s ‘90%’ figure) and sustainable (you must be able to execute on it for a significant period of time).
If you’re just getting going on creating your value proposition, you should start by undertaking detailed research into your customer base. This takes time, effort, persistence and creativity – but will get you close enough to the problems your solution solves to start producing a distinctive value proposition.
Once you have your value proposition, don’t stop! You should be scheduling in regular customer feedback and reviewing customer stories so you can constantly evolve your value proposition.