If I were to ask what a value proposition is, most of us would be able to drum up some sort of answer along the lines of: It’s a way to communicate the value of my products, services or company to potential buyers. That’s a decent definition, but how many value propositions really communicate something that sets a company apart from the crowd?
At a recent Marketing Sherpa B2B Summit I had the good fortune to hear Dr. Flint McGlaughlin speak. Entertaining and always insightful, McGlaughlin gave plenty to consider about the impact of a solid value proposition. In this age of digital overload, he asserts, people are not falling into your funnel – they are falling out. To prevent this you have to do something to combat the force of gravity and force them upward in the funnel, and that is the value proposition.
According to McGlaughlin a value proposition “is the most powerful invention, but the most poorly understood. It is an ultimate reason – the reason why – and the culmination of a careful argument. It must differentiate you from your competitors, and it must be unique.” Bottom line, if I’m your ideal prospect why should I buy from you rather than any of your competitors?
Crafting a really good value proposition can be a little tricky. Many companies will throw together a statement and call it done. But these statements usually contain little value and are often packed with generic product/services descriptions, “corporate speak” or fluffy descriptors. They’ve got a value proposition, but if put to the test it’s probably not working all that well.
A really good value proposition should communicate four distinct points:
1. Appeal: I want it.
2. Exclusivity: I can’t get it anywhere else.
3. Clarity: I understand it.
4. Credibility: I believe it and/or you.
If your value statement doesn’t convey these four points well, then it’s time to do some editing. Start by re-evaluating the strengths of what you’re promoting, be it your company, a product or services (or even you!). If you’re at a loss for ideas then reach out to Sales and other people in the company that interact with prospects or customers to gain some perspective. You may also want to talk to customers, asking why they bought what you’re offering and what they value the most about it.
Once you’ve got a proposition formulated, then it’s time to test to make sure you’ve got something that resonates with people and delivers those four key points. You can do this informally by letting Sales test it out for you or vetting it against customers who’ve purchased from you recently. But an even better approach is to build it into formalized campaigns where you can implement A/B testing and see what converts the best.
Marketing Sherpa analyzed which methods to test the value proposition performed the best in their 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Survey. Not unsurprisingly respondents found landing pages and email marketing to be the two top ways to vet their value proposition.
Yet in the same report, only 46% of surveyed companies indicated that they test their value proposition as part of their lead generation strategy. What this says to me is that there are some big assumptions about how value propositions are performing in the marketplace. So, would you rather stand out in the crowd, or be part of the majority? Consider what campaigns you have in place and where you might weave in the value proposition. The extra effort will pay off.
Want to learn more about crafting a truly great value proposition or an image that stands out from the crowd? Contact Launch today!
Graphic Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140514195943-2434720-how-to-stand-out-of-the-crowd-in-interviews