Value Proposition: How to develop your individual offering

Share on linkedin
share
Share on xing
share
Share on twitter
tweet
Share on facebook
share
Share on email
share
Share on linkedin
Share on xing
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on email
Why do customers buy your products? Simple question, isn't it? Why do people choose your services even though there are hundreds of alternatives? It's simple: Because of your value proposition.

Your value proposition is your promise of benefits, value and performance to your customers and a central element of your business model. In practice, it is also used as a marketing tool. 

 

The less known the startup or company, the better the value proposition must be formulated. In addition, the value proposition is often the customer’s first touchpoint with the company. The value proposition must be formulated in a crystal-clear and understandable way and is part of the company’s value worlds. In the course of our research, we analyzed several websites of startups, medium-sized companies and corporates with regard to their value proposition. Particularly among the larger companies, we noticed that there is apparently often a lack of understanding of clear and comprehensible value propositions in their customer segment, or they simply do not consider it necessary. 

Read this article to find out how you can create a unique value proposition and which positive practical examples you can use as a guide in your communications.

Value proposition - concentrated knowledge at a glance

Table of Contents

What is a value proposition?

Your value proposition is the benefit you promise to your clients to gain after the purchase of your product. In other words, the value proposition makes your product attractive to your customers.

Think of the Value Proposition as a contract between the customer and your company where the customer “hires” your company to solve a problem.

Christensen sums it up with his formulation: He sees the value proposition as a kind of invisible contract between your customer and your company. The customer commissions your company to solve a problem. 
 
A survey conducted by the consulting firm Simon & Kucher in 2014 reveals just how essential a customer value proposition is. They say that only 10% of all product innovations achieve their revenue targets and a full 90% of product innovations get lost in price wars with the competition or lack of awareness on the part of their customers. Therefore, the value proposition is not just a made-up marketing slogan, but rather a systematic development and elaboration of your performance and value proposition, which is also the basis for your pricing, marketing and sales.
 
It is a clear statement of how your product solves the problems of your customers or improves their situation without giving away direct company or product secrets. This requires relevance, specific benefits, and differentiation that tells your ideal customer why they should buy from you.
On a website, the value proposition should be the element that catches the eye of the visitor and potential target customer as the most important entry point. Therefore, the value proposition should also be formulated in the language of your customer. PS: You are not formulating the promise for you and your company, you are formulating it for your customers / your target audience. Please don’t forget that. It should follow the conversation that is already going on in the customer’s mind. 
 
 

What isn't the value proposition

In today’s rather noisy marketing world, users and target groups are bombarded with many messages. It doesn’t matter whether the messages are consumed as body text, via bullet points, as images, audio or video. The problem: the value proposition often gets lost between advertising messages and other information.
 
The value proposition is not an advertising slogan or positioning statement.
 

Those are no examples of value propositions

L’Oréal. Because I am worth it. 
 
Toom Baumarkt. Respect for those who do it themselves.
 
VW. For the love of the automobile.
 
Wagner. Once Wagner, always Wagner
 
WMF. A good idea.
 
There are, of course, many more. The excerpt of examples is only intended to clarify once again the difference between a value proposition and an advertising slogan or marketing slogan.

How to develop an outstanding value proposition

Value Proposition after Steve Blank

In the development of the Lean Startup model including the term Customer Development, entrepreneur, author and investor Steve Blank recommends the following quite simple structure. The goal of this structure is to make the value proposition, perfomance promise, or benefit proposition more accessible to other people in the simplest possible way.
 
Blank’s original definition is as follows:

“We help X do Y by doing Z.”

X  is thereby the target group, Y the problem and Z the solution.
 
Translated this means. 
We help ………. (targetgroup/customer profile) with ………… (problem/challenge) by ……….. (promise/solution).
 

Value Proposition after Geoffrey Moore

Geoffrey Moore, author of the recommended work “Crossing the Chasm”, goes one step further in his recommendation for formulating the value proposition. The template Moore gives is frequently used by Fortune 500 corporations, especially in the USA. 

“For (target customer) who (need or opportunity), our (product/service name) is (product category) that (benefit).”

 
As Moore’s formulation shows, it is no longer easy to conjure up a value proposition quickly and easily. 

Together we develop your perfect value proposition

So what's behind value proposition design?

VPD ensures that they always keep the customer in focus during the development of the service offering (keyword: customer centricity). 
 
The value proposition design method records, clusters and prioritizes the customer’s expected benefits, the customer’s problems and the customer’s tasks. These are referred to as customer requirements. The customer insights (so-called customer information) can be obtained directly from the customers with the help of so-called customer feedbacks, but can also be enriched with the help of customer information from CRM, account management, marketing or customer support, which is already available to the company. The customer requirements are then compared with the existing offer and promise. This very quickly results in concrete and clearly customer-centric starting points for optimizing the value proposition (value proposition / value proposition).

What questions are asked in the VPD method?

In the perspective of the customer:

  • Which benefits the customer, which added value does he expect?
  • Which problem does the customer want to solve?
  • Which tasks does the customer want to complete?

In the perspective of the solution:

  • What value does your solution bring? 
  • Which problem does your offer solve?
  •  How exactly is your offer designed?

How to sharpen existing value propositions with customer feedbacks

Where do you stand today in communicating the benefits of your entire company or individual products or services? Many companies communicate in a very product-focused manner (product-centric approach) instead of addressing the customer (customer-centric approach).
 
An extremely pragmatic approach to find out about the quality and realization of benefits is to engage in a dialog with your customer. Sounds trivial, but it is not at all.
 
The result of sharpening your value proposition: To an increased customer lifetime value, to innovations together with customers and to the strengthening of your position in the market and against your competitors.
 
Contact your best and worst customers and invite them to an open conversation. A personal and emotional conversation is much more effective in gaining customer understanding than, for example, comments or answers to online surveys with a standardized questionnaire addressed to your customer’s e-mail address.
 
During this conversation, find out about the customer’s everyday life, his wishes and goals. Ask specifically how much and in which areas you support them with your offer.
 
This will give you the impulses for sharpening your value proposition from those you want to reach, your customers. If you are already working with the Value Proposition Canvas or the Business Model Canvas as a tool, then you can enter the information gathered from your target group at this point. If you don’t work with it yet, you have the possibility to download and use the Value Proposition Canvas from tractionwise for free. PS: Again, please let us know your feedback on how you work with the canvas and if it was helpful for you. 

You want to have the Value Proposition Canvas as a template?

Examples of great value propositions from the field

  • Relevant visual 
  • Attention grabbing headline 
  • Short, concise and simple sentences in the section with lead collector.

Hotjar

  • Relevant visual in the self-designed corporate style.
  • Attention-grabbing headline
  • Short, concise and simple sentences

Userlane

  • Relevant visual
  • Attention grabbing headline
  • Short, concise and simple segments 

Optimizely

  • no picture
  • Attention grabbing headline
  • Longer segments

Value Proposition Canvas as a tool

The term Value Proposition Design has become very popular and widely used in recent years. The reason: Alexander Osterwalder, Steve Blank and a few others have designed a new approach to business models in their work with an enormous number of companies. In summary, this subject area can be called Lean Startup.
 
The foundation that emerged for working pragmatically rather than with confusing business plans was the Business Model Canvas. Osterwalder and his team at Strategyzer then developed the Value Proposition Canvas as an additional tool, specifically to highlight customer needs and the value proposition. You can use it to work with your management, your entire team and also with customers to determine their Jobs to be Done and to find answers to them.
 

The core of the Value Proposition Canvas is reduced to one sentence: Your target audience(s) and their “Pains” as well as their “Gains” are directly contrasted with the value proposition of your product or service with its pain-solvers and profit-generators.

Checklist for your value proposition

The value proposition is usually a block of text with or without an image (photo, hero shot, graphic). There is no one right way, but if you want to get started, try the following structures as a tool. But keep in mind: The value proposition has to fit to you and your corporate culture. Your company must be able to identify with it.

 

Your DNA depends on your value proposition.

  • Headline: What is the benefit you offer in one short sentence? You can mention your product and/or the customer. Attention magnet.
  • Subheading or a paragraph of 2-3 sentences: Specific explanation of what you do or offer, for whom, and most importantly, why is it useful. 
  • 3 Bullets: List the most important benefits or features.
  • Visual: Pictures communicate faster than words. Display your product, a hero, or an image that emphasizes your main message.

How to evaluate your current value proposition


Check if the following questions are answered.
 
  • Which product or service are you selling?
  • What is the reason for customers to use it?
  • Who are the customers for this product or service?
  • What seperates your offer from the competition?

What makes a very good value proposition?

  • Easy to understand
  • Communicates the concrete results the customers can expect to gain from your product/service.
  • States how your product is better than the competitors offers.
  • Avoids hype (like “never seen remedy”) , superlatives (“the best”) and business-talk  (“Value-adding interactions”).
  • Can be read and understood in about 5 seconds.

Helpful for the creation is also Simon Sinek's approach "Start with why"

Conclusion - On the way to your value proposition

A company needs a value proposition that is communicated clearly across all of its channels, whether it’s through its website, social media, flyers, partners, email marketing, and so on. It serves to communicate the benefits that your product has for your customers in a clear and understandable way as well. Don’t waste time now and do it yourself. It’s time for your value proposition in the language of your customers.

FAQ - Typical questions about the value proposition

A value proposition (a statement) that identifies clear, understandable, measurable and demonstrable benefits that your customers will receive if they are interested in / purchase a product or specific service. 

An aid or tool with which you systematically work on your value proposition. The VPC is an extension of the Business Model Canvas and one of the central customer-centric tools from Lean Startup.

Value propositions of companies are usually to be found on the homepage of a website in the first sections of the website. Pioneers are big players, but also software companies. Therefore, look at the websites of Hubspot, Salesforce, Slack, Apple and others. 

  1. The benefit you offer must be included in the headline. Tip: Increase the attention and prove facts with sources.
  2. IIn the subheading, explain in 2-3 sentences what you / your company does and what you offer to whom and why. Tip: Be aware of the WHY-HOW-WHAT by Simon Sinek
  3. Briefly list the most important advantages and functions in a bulleted list (key points). Tip: Less is more. Deliberately leave out filler words and useless information. 
  4. In a picture you briefly show your product, your idea or your brand. Pictures say more than 1,000 words. Tip: The image must be eye-catching and should not contain any boring textual phrases.
Share on linkedin
share
Share on xing
share
Share on twitter
tweet
Share on facebook
share
Share on email
share
Share on linkedin
Share on xing
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on email

About Me

As a Growth Marketing & Customer Experience expert, I experience the importance of a customer-centric product and marketing strategy on a daily basis.

With the combination of agile optimization processes and a corporate culture that is open to experimentation, you will bring your growth fully on track.

Categories

Get all your Customer Centricity topics conveniently in your mailbox.

100% free of charge | 25 min. individual consultation

This service is not only available because of the current corona situation.
But right now it is more important than ever, together and for each other.