Finding a differentiator in an increasingly crowded market can be a challenge for any marketing professional. Not only does the product of service need to be of excellent quality, but marketers need to also make sure that they are making it stand out among its competitors. One efficient way to do that is by researching and crafting a catchy and unique value proposition so that customers can easily recognize it and easily understand the value it provides.
What is a value proposition?
In marketing, a value proposition is defined as “the core benefit or benefits that a product or service delivers to customers.” It’s essentially a promise that a product or service makes to consumers, typically in the form of a few words. Simply because businesses oftentimes struggle to clearly identify and package the main benefit of their product and/or service, marketing specialists come up with a short and direct tagline that addresses these needs. Value propositions are the unique selling proposition a business has to offer.
Let’s take a look at a few examples to see what they are doing in this regard.
- The Apple Store: “The Genius Bar is in the front”
- Walmart: “Save money. Live better.”
- Southwest Airlines: “Low fares. Nothing to hide.”
- Uber: “The Smartest Way to Get Around”
By analyzing what each of these examples does right, we will understand how to apply the same success story for your business or brand.
The “Genius Bar is in the front” value proposition is a clear promise that the Apple Store makes to consumers. The Apple brand is synonymous with good customer service, so this is an easy promise to make and keep. Apple has found a way of conveying a simple message that also appeals to customers, putting a big emphasis on their already established benefits.
Walmart, on the other hand, has chosen to focus on two main selling points with their “Save money. Live better.” value proposition. For their customers, it is no secret that Walmart has some of the most competitive prices on the market. But it isn’t just that. By offering a large variety of products, the company makes the case that by using its stores customers are improving their lives.
When it comes to airline companies, competing in the low-cost market is often hard to promote, because customers are already accustomed to paying extra fees for extra benefits. This is where the Southwest Airlines value proposition comes to shake up the market. By promising “Low fares. Nothing to hide.”, Southwest Airlines is basically promising to its customers that once they purchase a ticket, that’s where their worries end. As long as a company strives to live up to the promises set up by its value proposition, it has a huge opportunity for more conversions, while also making sure that its existing client base is likely to return to its service.
Uber’s “The Smartest Way to Get Around” value proposition is another great example of creating a connection between how the service works and what users are getting out of it. In other words, they are implying that ordering an Uber from your smartphone is better than calling for a cab or a taxi. If the experience promised by the value proposition matches the experience users will enjoy when riding an Uber, the value proposition has done its job.
Notice how each of the value propositions above focuses on the service’s core benefit. But not all value propositions are this simple. Take a look at this value proposition from The Home Depot: “Bringing the outside in.”
“Bringing the outside in” simply explains what people can expect from a trip to The Home Depot. It tells you how a visit to The Home Depot will make you feel. But it does beyond that by assuring customers of the value they are getting by shopping there.
Just as we learned earlier, the main goal of your value proposition is to tell consumers why they should buy your product or use your service. When you know what your value proposition is, you can tell the story of your product or service, and help your prospects understand why they should buy your product or service.
Take a look at how GoPro tells the story of their product through their value proposition: “Capture your world.”
The GoPro camera was created to capture the world in a way that no other camera could. But they don’t stop there. They tell you how they’ll do it.
GoPro tells you exactly how you’ll be able to take snapshots or adventure videos of your world using their camera. You can go anywhere. You can capture the impossible. You can freeze time. Notice how this value proposition doesn’t just tell you what the camera does, it tells you how the camera can do it.
How to create a value proposition
So how do you develop your value proposition?
Step 1. Identify what consumers want
Before you craft your value proposition, you have to know exactly what your customers or prospects are expecting. You have to know what they’re looking for.
Simply asking them what they want isn’t enough. Instead, you should work on market research, something that will reveal insider information about buying habits, preferences, and expectations. Consider a focus group to talk directly to people in your target audience. Try to understand what makes them tick, what they are looking for in a similar product or service, and the kind of issues that have been encountered. If possible, allow them to interact with your product or service, so that you can more clearly identify bottlenecks.
Once you know exactly what they want, you can start working on your value proposition. This type of statement should never be created in a vacuum, that’s why it’s important to involve your target audience or customer base in the process as much as possible.
Step 2. Identify a key benefit
Once you know what your customers want, you can tell them why they should buy your product or service.
So how do you do that?
Let look over an example. Let’s say you’re the founder of a new clothing company. You’ve spent the last year building your dream team and developing a new clothing line. You have a product that you’re proud of, and now it’s time to launch your business.
Your customers want to wear clothes that they feel confident in, clothes that fit them well, clothes that make them feel like the best version of themselves. If that’s something you know you can deliver, why not use it as the main benefit of your product?
Your benefit? “We make clothes that make you feel confident, clothes that fit you well, clothes that make you feel like the best version of yourself.” From here, you can simply brainstorm ideas regarding the wording. One potential value proposition can be “Wear the best version of yourself.”
See how this is different from “We make clothes”? Your value proposition should tell people why they should buy your product or service, not just what your product or service is.
Step 3. Find the right words to tell your story
Once you have a clear idea of what your value proposition is, you need to find the right words to tell your story. Copywriters can tell you that coming up with the best value proposition is not something you do overnight. Developing a value proposition that not only sells your product or service, but it’s also unique, memorable, and stands out can be a difficult creative job.
There are a few ways you can do this:
- Try to use words that communicate your core benefit
- Use words that describe how your product or service delivers this benefit
- Use catchy phrases or words
- Try to connect experiences with benefits
Step 4: Test your value proposition
Just because you have created what seems like a perfect value proposition, it doesn’t mean that you will just start using it right away. To make sure that your target audience, customers, or prospects are actually engaging with it and find value in it, you need to test it.
If you have a website or app, one simple thing that you can do is to use A/B testing to see if your new value proposition leads to more conversions or an increased engagement. If that’s not the case, we can easily return to step 1 and use a focus group to gather data. Regardless of the approach you are using, it is critical to make sure that the value proposition you are using clicks with customers. If not, it either needs rewording or you need to identify a stronger benefit.