Your customer value proposition is one of the most important factors that will determine the success or failure of your marketing strategy. The purpose of a customer value proposition is to clearly communicate to customers why your product or service is unique, better, and worth purchasing.
In order to break down the steps in creating an effective customer value proposition, we need to take a more in-depth look at each word in “customer value proposition.” The first element you need to focus on is the “customer.” This requires you to look at the problem that your product or service will solve from your potential customer’s viewpoint. Instead of making assumptions, it’s best to get the opinions of as many potential customers as possible. Marketing research using a focus group is the most ideal way to accomplish this. At the very least, you should conduct informal conversations with potential customers in the field.
It is important to note that many times your customer is not the end user of your product or service. For example, a number of years ago I started a company to create a prescription reminder device that stored compliance information that could be shared with the patient’s physician and pharmacist. With this business the end-users were seniors that took multiple prescriptions. Instead of directing our customer value proposition to these patients, we focused it toward the insurance companies and HMO’s that would potentially pay for these devices. Our value proposition was that a small investment in our prescription compliance system would save them huge amounts of money by lowering the healthcare costs of these patients.
In order to get good quality information from your focus group when you are doing marketing research, you need to organize and write down the information are you seeking. List the benefits and features of the product or service you intend to produce and sell. One of the things you want to do with this list is to find out how each potential customer ranks each feature and benefit. Often you’ll be surprised as to what benefit or feature is most important once you compile your data. It’s also a good idea to ask potential customers if there are any benefits or features not mentioned in your list that would better solve their problem. Study your competition. When you are conducting your focus groups or interviews, ask them how they perceive the value of your competitor’s product or service based on features, quality, price or customer service? If they are buying a competitor’s product or service, where are they purchasing it? Are they making their purchases at a brick and mortar store, on the internet, via wholesale distributors or from catalogs?
Once you’ve compiled and analyzed the above-mentioned marketing research, you then need to determine how you will create sufficient enough “value” that customers will be compelled to buy your product or service. In most cases, your product or service will have many similarities to those of your competitors. This is expected. Ignore these. What you need to focus on are benefits that differentiate your product or service from your competition. Is it features? Design? Pricing? Business Model? This biggest point of difference is then used to create your value proposition.
The next step in creating an effective customer value proposition is to determine the best way to make your “proposition” to your customers. The purpose of this value proposition is to clearly communicate to your customers why your product or service is different, better, and worth purchasing. The strongest value proposition contains a very specific benefit. Potential customers will pay more attention to value propositions containing specific facts, especially when they relate to a desired benefit. For example, if your business was a dating website what value proposition do you think would generate more traffic to your website?
Over sixty-five percent of our members have found their soul-mate and have gotten married in less than a year.
Our dating website has brought together more marriages than any other dating website on the web.
If your answer was the first statement, I would agree with you. The other statement just sounds like plain vanilla hype with no substance behind it. The first value proposition statement is far more effective on many levels. First off, it has a focused message directed towards a specific group of customers that are looking for a potential spouse. Second, it tells them that over sixty-five percent of the customers using your site were married within a year. That’s a huge number. Your statement also tells them that they have a good chance of getting married in less than a year. That’s fast! Most of these people have probably been looking for a life-partner for many years.
Another key feature of an effective value proposition is to focus on the biggest point of difference your product or service has, compared to your competitors. Then explain why this unique feature makes your product or service the best choice for your customer. Always keep in mind that the ways your offering is similar to your competitors won’t accomplish anything. What you need to do is emphasize the one or two things where you excel over your competition. It is how you are different that will convince customers that you are providing the best solution to their problem.
Once you’ve created a number of potential customer value propositions, it is imperative that you get customer feedback. The best way to do this is to conduct more market research using a focus group. When conducting your market study, present your value propositions side-by-side in order find out which one is more compelling. Besides asking which message is most attractive, you should also ask for feedback in order to find ways to better state your case. Many times using different terms or jargon may help customers better resonate with your message.
Another thing I would recommend that you include in your marketing research is a comparison of your marketing material with that of your competitors. Show your marketing material side-by-side with your competitors. Ask potential customers which ad is more compelling and why. Many times after doing this research, you will discover that you’ll need to tweak your message. After doing this, conduct more tests until you have a customer value proposition that resonates with the customers you are focusing on.
In summary, a successful marketing strategy requires a compelling customer value proposition. It is important to not go on mere hunches when you create this important marketing tool. Don’t take short cuts! Do your research! Make sure that your value proposition is more compelling than that of your competitor’s for at least one or more benefits. Confirm that what you are using to differentiate yourself has enough value to convince a significant number of customers that you are providing the best solution. Avoid creating a message that will appeal to everybody! Doing that just dilutes the focus and effectiveness of your marketing message. This does not mean that you can’t have multiple marketing campaigns with different value propositions. To be effective, however, each of your marketing campaign should be centered on a value proposition that focuses on one specific benefit that will compel customers to buy your product or service.
Creating an effective customer value proposition will also assist you in raising business funding. Before an Angel investor will even look at your business deal, they want to see a value proposition that’s compelling. They want to understand what differentiates your product or service offering from those of your competitors. Having research provides proof that your marketing strategy will be effective. This research also adds credibility to the financial projections in your business plan.
if you are seriously contemplating starting your own business, I would recommend that you check out NewBusinessCreator.com. This web site simplifies and condenses the important things you need to achieve business success. It also serves as a portal to a number of affiliated listing sites that enable you to obtain the business funding, human resources, materials and marketing tools that will be required make your dreams a reality. So are you ready to make your dreams come true? Is it time to stop wishing and start planning your new future? If so, you owe it to yourself to visit NewBusinessCreator.com. You have nothing to lose. Access to the site is totally free. Remember that access to all of the listing sites for transforming your plans into reality can also be found in NewBusinessCreator.com
Written by: Mark J. Krupp, Confounder of NewBusinessCreator.com