The value proposition-the first step to success

Updated: Aug 18

1. Defining your value proposition

At the center of your marketing is your value proposition. It's a short, distinct statement that outlines exactly why a customer should buy your product or service. It should be something that can live as a headline with a supporting sentence or a few bullet points. It should be front and center in your messaging and be the foundation by which you build all of your marketing around. A value proposition is not a jargon-filled statement, nor is it your slogan. It must be simple, clear, and easy to understand in about five seconds. Now, the less known your brand is, the better the value proposition you're going to need.

2. The application of the brand

When Uber launched, for example, it stuck to this value proposition, the smartest way to get around. One tap and a car comes directly to you. Your driver knows exactly where to go. Payment is completely cashless. Now, it's tempting to create a value proposition that lists all of your key differentiators, but this isn't the right approach.

What you want to do is sell the result or the experience of interacting with your brand, not just what features you get as a result. You're telling a story and focusing on the outcomes and in a competitive market you're attacking pain points of any existing solutions. With Uber, they're calling out everything people dislike about traditional taxis, but their main headline isn't Uber, the on-demand taxi service. Instead, it's telling you that your current way of getting around is dumb. And the outcome of Uber is that you picked the smart way.

Stewart Butterfield, the co-founder of Slack, also has a wonderful approach to this idea. He said that Slack's value proposition isn't being the most user-friendly team chat system, or even being the highest quality, or having the best customer service, because people aren't buying that. Slack entered a market where consumers weren't even aware that they needed Slack, so they opted to sell the outcomes. They say things like 75% less email or all your team communication instantly searchable and available wherever you go. Again, you're selling the outcome. Your product or service is just how the consumer gets to that outcome.

Now, Stewart shares another great example in his essay on Medium titled "We Don't Sell Saddles Here". And he writes the following, "Consider the hypothetical Acme Saddle Company. "They could just sell saddles. "And if so, they'd probably be selling "on the basis of things "like the quality of the leather they use, "or the fancy adornments their saddles include. "They could be selling on the range of styles "and sizes available or on durability or on price. "Or they could sell horseback riding. "Being successful at selling horseback riding "means they grow the market for their product, "while giving the perfect context "for talking about their saddles. "It lets them position themselves as the leader "and affords them different kinds of marketing "and promotion opportunities, "such as sponsoring school programs "to promoting riding for kids "to working on land conservation or trail maps. "It lets them think big and potentially be big."

As you sit down to develop your value proposition determine not how your product will be better than the others in the market, but how your outcome is better. Write this value proposition down, make sure it's distributed to everyone in the company, and reflect on it every time you produce any new marketing collateral.

Source: VSHR digital media

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