Why is a value proposition so important to your brand?
The value proposition is a statement which articulates the value that the brand promises to deliver to its customer. It seeks to answer the question “Why would a customer buy this?”. It must be distinctive and persuasive rather than sounding similar to other competitors in the market. The best value proposition strategy often creates a perception of value in your customers’ minds. By marketing a brand, product, or service, your value proposition explains the unique benefits you offer.
The most basic value proposition strategy will only focus on articulating the features and benefits of a product, enabling customers to understand its functional benefits. This is a surefire way to position the brand as a commodity and not gain significant market share.
To build a competitive customer value proposition, you will need to win in the market. Therefore, brands need to go deeper with their value propositions. This means explaining the problem that the product or service solves and how it can create positive gains and improvements in its customer’s lives. Strategic proposition development is important if your brand is new in the marketplace. Many businesses fail in their early years because they haven’t thought through their brand strategic proposition to clarify what makes them unique in a crowded marketplace.
If produced well, this can help to improve brands’ strategic proposition, awareness, and preference. It is critical that the promise of the value proposition can be delivered to customers consistently. This will lead to loyal long-term customers. If you have trouble figuring how to enhance value proposition, you won’t be able to attract or retain customers. Every business provides some unique value compared to the others.
Great value propositions are built from a robust set of customer insights. A good value proposition strategy may vary depending on your target customer. Therefore, knowing what the customer wants and articulating the value proposition in a way that strongly resonates with them is key.
How the value proposition canvas can increase your market share
One technique to enhance value proposition is using a value proposition canvas! The value proposition canvas is an excellent tool which can align a product or service more closely to its target customer’s needs. It was initially developed by Dr. Alexander Osterwalder as a framework which helps businesses to build robust customer value propositions.
Working through various steps with a customer value proposition map will help you identify the factors that make your business distinctive, so that you can connect with and effectively market to customers.
Customer profile map
In the first section of the value proposition canvas, a customer profile must be created for the target customer – this will reflect the customer’s individual jobs, pains and gains.
- Customer jobs–The social, functional and emotional tasks that customers are trying to achieve – this includes desires they need to satisfy and problems that they are trying to solve.
- Gains–The benefits that target customer desire and the things that will delight them if they get their job done well.
- Pains–The negative experiences, risks and emotions that the customer experiences by not getting their job done.
Value proposition map
A value proposition map is a blueprint that brands can use to articulate their value proposition. This focuses on how the business’s product or service can align with the customer by helping them get their job done, alleviate their pains and create positive gains in their life. You must keep the following in mind when developing the value proposition map: not all customer pains and gains can be addressed, and the best approach is to target key factors that customers consider as the top priority.
- Gain creators–How the product creates positive gains and how it will benefit the customer.
- Pain relievers–How the product will remove the pains from the customer’s life.
- Products and services–The products and services which the business is offering to the customer and which provide pain relief and gains for those customers.
How can you achieve the ‘fit’?
A fit is achieved when the product solves the most significant pains and delivers significant gains to the target customer. It is important to validate the hypothetical customer value proposition with real-life customer data (or with data from prospective customers if the brand is just launching).
How the “Jobs-to-be-done” theory improves a brand’s market position
The jobs-to-be-done theory was created by Clayton Christensen in 1999 through his best-selling book, The Innovator’s Solution. It is closely related to the value proposition canvas but, takes a more fundamental look at the customer’s motivations behind purchase decisions. This is because people will purchase a product or service to get a “job” done. With the jobs to be done theory, brands are more likely to create solutions that will win within their industries and improve their customer value proposition!
When brands put the jobs-to-be-done theory into practice, they give themselves a competitive advantage in the marketplace:
- Consumers will buy products and services to get the job done.
- Brands can move beyond functional benefits and can then talk about the emotional (gains) that their product or service offers to customers.
- Customers default to using that brand to “get the job done” – building brand loyalty.
- Product development teams can focus on a more meaningful measure of analysis regarding what matters to customers – how well did we get the job done?
- A better understanding of the customer’s job-to-be-done makes marketing more innovative and effective.
It is good practice to consider the customer’s “jobs-to-be-done” so that the right solutions can be offered.
How can Jobs-to-be-done help in developing your product innovation strategy?
Product innovation should act like a compass, which points the brand’s strategic proposition in the direction which delivers the most value for the customer. The jobs-to-be-done framework (and value proposition canvas) can guide product innovation.
The best value proposition examples that can improve your market share
Stripe’s “Web and mobile payments, built for developers”
Stripe is an online payment tool which allows businesses to accept and manage online payments. Its target market is business owners and developers. The primary benefit that Stripe offers is “simple and streamlined payments”, with emphasis on the brand’s simple to use products.
Uber’s “Get there: Your day belongs to you”
Uber is the world’s most successful ride-hailing app and it hits its target consumer right where the problem lies; the elimination of problems when travelling. Uber’s proposition focuses on its customer’s needs by including the word “you”. It’s simple and effective.
Target’s “Expect More, Pay Less”
Target zeroes in on cost-conscious shoppers who are looking for quality. Their value proposition shows shoppers that they can get quality products at affordable prices.
Skillshare’s “Learn a New Skill Each Day”
Skillshare’s target market is those customers with creative minds and entrepreneurial spirits who are looking for affordable and easy to learn online courses. They hit the market by providing a quick and focused on-demand learning experience via bite-sized lessons.
Evernote’s “Remember Everything”
Evernote targets students, busy individuals and professionals. Its app allows easy organisation for notes, photos, audio clips and other data – enabling its users to organise all of their ideas in one place. Evernote enables users to organise all of their important ideas so that they never forget an idea or project.
Spotify’s “Music for Everyone”
Spotify included every music lover out there with their fun proposition. It does not single out any segment.
Bitly’s “Shorten. Share. Measure”
Bitly’s value proposition features exactly what it offers – no more, no less. It focuses on three important elements in link management and it works because it removes any unnecessary language.
Value Proposition: Final Thoughts
Creating an enhanced value proposition strategy can enable a brand to sharpen the way they articulate their offering to customers and increase the likelihood of gaining market traction (or growing market share). Developing this requires an understanding of exactly what customer’s issues and needs are. The value proposition is ultimately the articulation of how the brand will deliver on the customer’s needs better, cheaper, and faster than the competition does.