“How To ….” Create a Killer Value Proposition

Can you articulate your product’s value proposition in one short punchy sentence? If challenged, can you break it down into some key selling points that demonstrate why your product is the best solution to a customer problem, need or want?

If not, you may need to spend some time revisiting your value proposition.

Ask yourself “So what?”

Think of how often you’ve seen messages like the following:

  • “The most experienced provider of…”
  • “We’ve won more awards than…”
  • “We provide a world-class portfolio of…”

BORING! The problem here is that these statements are talking about the business, not what it does for the customer. Does a customer really care if the firm is the most experienced? While experience is important, the fact is that customers are more interested in understanding if a product satisfies their needs and wants and how it does so better than all other competitor products.

Crafting a killer value proposition

A killer value proposition doesn’t bamboozle customers with lists of features, functions and statistics. Instead, it helps the customer to understand what the product or service does for them. It also makes the customer recognise why this product is better than competitive offerings for their particular need and instils in them a sense of desire to purchase or use the product. It generates a level of interest and desire in the customer and helps turn this into action.

To develop a killer value proposition, product managers should revisit the fundamentals of what your product does for customers. Some possible benefits include:

  • Saving money
  • Making things easier
  • Taking less time
  • Improving enjoyment
  • Reducing stress

These are end-user focused benefits and provide the basis on which your value proposition can be developed. As you work through features lists to articulate the benefits, keep asking yourself “so what?” When you get to a point that you can answer “so what” without needing to distil further you’re likely to have hit a good, tangible and meaningful benefit for the customer.

The two-sentence model of value propositions

The product management services company Blackblot uses a two sentence structure that helps to show how a product delivers value to the user and helps to distinguish the product from competitive offerings:

First sentence – Resultant Value

Second sentence – Relative value

“For the <Target customer/segment.> who <Statement of need or opportunity.>, the <Product name or category.> provides <Statement of key benefit.>. Unlike <Primary competitive alternative.>, the <Product name.>, <Statement of main differentiation that is relevant to target customer.>”.

For example,

For the busy executive who needs to check-in and out of hotels quickly, the Luxuria Hotels Express-Concierge service is a registration service that allows the executive to arrive and depart the hotel at any time without the need to wait in queues or speak to a real person. Unlike Motelcor Express, Luxuria Hotels Express-Concierge works for both checking-in and checking out and is recognised by Exectravel.com as being 25% faster.

This message can be broken down into specific parts that allow for the creation of marketing messages. Case studies, testimonials, endorsements, awards and other elements help provide evidence and validation and allow for messaging ideas to be developed.

Go forth and make killer value propositions

Value propositions can actually be rather clunky and long-winded sentences. There needs to be leeway for creativity. Marketing communications managers and their agencies, designers and copywriters need some creative leeway to play around with the proposition. It is important that product managers and product marketers are involved in this process to ensure the key points of the value proposition are not lost in this process.

By challenging their ideas with the “So what?” test, product managers will be able to articulate value propositions that are relevant and compelling for target customers.

How have you crafted your value propositions? We would love to see some so please share yours. After all, sharing your value proposition shouldn’t be revealing anything that smart competitors don’t already know. If you’d like to share, please do so in the comments section below.