Value Prop

Your value prop is the core advantage your company offers. It’s the key reason someone would buy from you rather than a competitor. Without a value prop, or value proposition, your prospect has no reason to become a customer.

After all, if you can’t articulate what a buyer stands to gain from a transaction with your business, why would they hand over their money? Good marketing can only go so far without something to hang your hopes on.

You need to understand what your value prop looks like, how it should be nurtured and developed, and how best to leverage it.

What is (and isn’t) a worthwhile value proposition?

A value proposition explains how your product solves customer problems or improves their situation. It needs to include specific benefits gained not just from purchasing the product – but specifically purchasing the product from you rather than from a competitor.

It’s important that you understand the difference between a value proposition and other marketing concepts, such as positioning statements and slogans. Saying you’re the best isn’t a value proposition. A snappy catch phrase isn’t a value proposition. A value prop is a clear, concise explanation of what you offer.

Good value propositions are characterized by a few key traits:

  • Emphasizes specific customer benefits.

    It’s important that you understand who your customers are and what the unique problems they face look like, so you can offer specific answers to specific conundrums.

  • Communicates those benefits with clarity.

    Don’t dance around or use vague descriptions where specific ones are possible.

  • Explains thoroughly while maintaining simplicity. 

    A value proposition still needs to be accessible and versatile, meaning it needs to be something a customer can read and absorb in five to ten seconds.

How to make the most of your value proposition

So why should you care about having a value prop? First and foremost, research shows a direct link between the quality of value propositions and conversion rates. Most businesses make some effort to offer worthwhile value props, even if they aren’t specifically familiar with the concept. But that’s still a far cry from proper development of a value proposition.

There are two key things you should keep in mind when nurturing your value proposition and putting it into position. First, it needs to be core to your marketing, front and center and never contradicted. It’s inarguably the number one most important aspect of your branding, your sales endeavors, and  every communication with your customer.

Second is understanding that a value proposition is only as valuable as the customer perceives it to be. That means two different customers with different expectations will see a single value proposition—and one will bite while the other passes. You either need to find a single core point that can appeal broadly across your market segments, or you need to develop multiple value props and marketing campaigns around those propositions to specifically target different groups.

How to avoid the pitfalls

As you work on your value propositions, watchi closely for these common mistakes and pitfalls. They can render your efforts pointless and waste countless man-hours, brand equity, and profit.

  • Inauthenticity.

    Inauthentic value propositions can torpedo a brand faster than most branding mistakes, because you’re lying—or at least misleading—about something critical to the purchase motivation. Any value you’re inventing just so you have an interesting value proposition isn’t real value. This is especially common when looking at a business which came up with the product or service first without first looking into the market. Which leads to the second pitfall.

  • The over-assumptive approach.

    Don’t make assumptions about what your customers value, what problems they’re facing, or what will appeal to them. Research your market thoroughly, then test your theories extensively. Your products or services offer many different values. Make sure you’re emphasizing the right ones to succeed with hard data, not assumptions.

You can see the importance of the value prop, and the flexibility you have in pursuit of the concept. As with so many things in business and marketing, the key isn’t so much in adhering to a single approach as it is understanding there’s something important there to consider at all. Once you understand the role a value proposition can and should play in your advertising and sales, you’re halfway there—whatever route you end up choosing.