The value proposition
Why create a customer value proposition?
A customer value proposition (value prop) is arguably the most important element of your marketing messaging and is the core of your competitive advantage. It boils down all the complexity of your sales pitch into something that your customers can easily digest and relate to.
A value prop tells prospects why they should buy from you rather than your competitors, and succinctly communicates the benefits of your products or services. It is essentially a promise of value to be delivered to your customer, what you make and why people should want to buy it.
A value prop statement may be the first thing visitors see on your homepage, a product flyer or brochure. Getting the value prop statement right will make the difference between a potential customer wanting to further engage with your offering or simply walking away.
How to create a customer value proposition
There are different ways to map out the fundamentals of a value prop. A simple internet search will throw up lots of ideas and concepts, ranging from taking a visual value proposition canvas approach to asking a series of essential questions:
Which customers do you serve?
What needs do your target customers have and how are you going to meet those needs?
What relative price will provide acceptable value for customers and acceptable profitability for the company?
How are you different to competitors?
Are you segmenting the market differently or approaching a new market with a unique or novel offering?
Essentially there are 3 main elements of a value prop to consider:
Relevance - How does your product or service solve or improve a customer’s challenge
Value - What benefits customers can expect
Differentiation - Why customers should buy from you over your competitors
When developing any customer facing content it is important to use the same language as your target audience. This is especially true for value prop statements.
In mapping out and developing a value prop it is really important to consider how customers really define value, and not how you may view the value of your offering. So it’s really worth considering gathering VOC (voice of the customer) in the mapping stage.
Any value props you create should be written so real humans can understand them, so avoid using internal phrases of corporate jargon.
Constructing a customer value proposition
A value prop can be constructed out of 4 sections.
The headline summarises the end net benefit that you a offering a customer.
This is followed by a short paragraph of text. To help construct this text we really like Steve Blank's XYZ approach:
We help (X) do (Y) by doing (Z). Resulting in (net benefit to customer)
This is a great jump off point to creating a simple statement that can easily be wordsmithed to improve clarity and style, including in the text why Z is different to what your competitors have to offer.
If needed add 3 feature/benefit style bullet points and include a visual element to enhance the overall message.
Once you have created your value prop then don’t be afraid to test it and test it again. Remember you are appealing to customers, so ensure it speaks to your audience, is clear and concise and offers a promise of value that you will deliver.
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