If I am your ideal prospect, why should I buy from you rather than your competitors? Can you easily answer that question in a clear, concise way? Recently, a well-known marketing research company conducted a survey to see how many business professionals could write truly effective value propositions for their companies. Of the 275 value propositions submitted, only 2% had a strong, unique, ownable value. This doesn’t mean that the other 98% of business professionals surveyed don’t have products with compelling values; it just means that they are not conveying the unique values to potential customers. A powerful value proposition should be appealing, show exclusivity, be clear, and sound credible.
When developing a value proposition for your company or one of your products, the first thing to take into account is the appeal of your offering. What is it about your product that makes a customer want or need to own it? Keep in mind that at the center of appeal is want. The solution that you are offering must be relevant to and wanted by your prospects.
Now, ask yourself, what about your product is exclusive? Appeal and exclusivity often go hand in hand. Many of your competitors may have appealing offerings that are similar to yours, but what makes your product different? Compare your product to your competitors’ products and then include that exclusive difference that only your product offers in your value proposition. If your product is very similar to others, it may be challenging to find a feature that your competitors’ products don’t already have. Exclusivity does not have to be a specific feature built into your product; it could be that your product is the most accurate, you have the largest network of service providers, or that you offer a money-back guarantee.
The next step in developing your value proposition is to make sure that the message you are trying to get across is clear. Would your average prospect know and understand why he or she should buy your product over others in the market? Make sure to include active verbs and concrete nouns when describing your offering. Speak your average prospect’s language, making sure not to use internal or irrelevant terms that he or she might not understand.
The last step in developing the initial value proposition is ensuring that the statements you are making about your product sound credible. Are you using specific, believable, and quantifiable facts to describe your product? Many companies claim that their products are the best or that they are the most reliable. Customers are generally leery of claims that sound too good to be true. Including specific, believable, and quantifiable facts and/or a trusted third party reference can be the push that your product needs to stand out from competitors.
Once you have established your value proposition, use the following checklist to ensure that it is appealing, exclusive, clear, and credible.
- Do your claims focus on and connect with the needs and/or wants of your prospects?
- Is there a claim that only your company/product can make?
- Is the claim compared to a known competitor or the industry?
- Did you use concrete descriptors?
- Did you use your average prospect’s vocabulary?
- Are your claims listed in a logical sequence?
- Did you use specific facts?
- Are your facts quantifiable?
- Did you back up your facts with third-party references?
Once your initial value proposition is developed, it will need to be applied to your creative and continuously tested. For more information on developing strong value propositions and next steps, please contact Heather Riexinger at firstname.lastname@example.org.