How To Craft Your Value Proposition

UPDATE, 14 January 2014: You might find this article helpful too:
More Gain Than Pain: A Really Simple Definition of ‘Value Proposition’

A value proposition is a statement that summarises the customer segments you are targeting, and how you are differentiated from your competitors. It should answer the question: “Why should I choose to buy this product or service, and why now?”. It’s a key element of developing a great marketing strategy. In this article, I’ll give you a template you can use in crafting your own value proposition.

A value proposition is also called a positioning statement. Accurately positioning your product in the mind of a prospective buyer is one of the most important apects of marketing your offering. Importantly, your value proposition needs to show not only why your product or service should be chosen, but why inaction by the buyer is to be avoided.

While it’s possible to use such a statement verbatim in your marketing communication, it’s more usually used within a company to achieve consensus on what the value proposition is, and then that proposition can be expressed in a variety of visual and textual ways.

Value Proposition Template

Here is a template that can be used to build a two-sentence value proposition. Try filling in the blanks in the template for your own product or service.

Value Proposition Template

A Light-Hearted Example

Although this is tongue-in-cheek, it demonstrates how the template can be used.

For a commuter who wants to eat breakfast on the train without mess, our Excello BrekkieBar product is a health food, which provides a completely nutritious and delicious breakfast that you can eat anywhere.

Unlike grain bars and breakfast cereals, BrekkieBar tastes like a full English cooked breakfast, but has no fat and no calories, and even the wrapper can be eaten, leaving no waste.

This is because of our unique combination of innovative use of genetically modified foods and bio-engineered plastic packaging, that we have already used to produce a leading product in this market – Excello BrandyMints – the all-in-one after-dinner treat.

The “So What?” Test

Try your value proposition out on colleagues, employees – and most importantly, existing and potential customers. If the response to your value proposition from a prospective buyer is “So What?”, you know that it’s not strong enough. Did it describe tangible or measurable benefits that are truly of concern to that consumer or business person?

To produce a concise, convincing value proposition is not a trivial exercise. When I do that with my clients, it’s based on analysis of their company, its products and services, their competitors, and the market they’re operating in. You’ll need to think deeply in order to produce something that’s compelling.

What’s your experience of developing a value proposition? Let me know in the comments.

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Comments

  1. says

    I am interested in applying this concept to raise awareness in my organisation at CEO and corporate management level. My subject is location intelligence – the use of GIS and Address based systems in delivering services and assisting decision makers.

    • says

      Hi Keith,

      That’s a good plan. The idea of a value proposition works in that setting, whether you’re thinking about business-to-business or business-to-consumer. In fact, it works in non-commercial settings too – such as charities and not-for-profit – and even in the person-to-business setting of someone pitching for a job.

      I’ll be exploring those ideas and more in a soon to be released book called ‘Value Propositions Made Really Simple’. There’ll be an announcement on this site when it’s published.

      Let us know how you get on in developing your location intelligence value proposition.

      Matthew

  2. says

    Hi Matthew, thanks for your invaluable feedback re: my value prop. Here’s a revision for the long-form value prop (see below) as per your comments. Not sure the second part is 100% on point as I want to allude to helping users get the most out of their current wardrobe as well as help with future purchases. Any thoughts?

    “GoodToGoOut is the only platform that enables the male or female style-conscious shopper to get the style advice they need, when they need it, from their style peers or heroes.

    We’re helping to eliminate buyer’s remorse and saving time, money and closet space one interaction at a time”

    As far as social networks…we’re integrated with Facebook via the OpenGraph so users can simply login via their existing FB accounts. We also have standard email login, but I’m thinking of disabling that and simply allowing sign-in via Twitter or FB as to link actions back to “real people” and allow for us to easily leverage users’ social networks to help make the site a bit more viral, among other things.

    • says

      Emeka,

      Glad I could help you. That revision of your value proposition is more powerful than the first one you emailed me. But remember to subject it to the ‘so what?’ test, and to do that repeatedly. If your second iteration of the value proposition is more powerful than your first, imagine how good it might be when you’re on revision 33!

      I definitely think that leveraging existing networks is a far better idea than getting people to include themselves in yet another smaller network.

      Good luck with your business.

      Matthew

    • says

      Emeka,

      You already know how your idea is going to make money, I would suppose. Don’t forget that portion of your value proposition. That old quote about ‘profit is the part of your promise that the customer lets you keep’ still holds true.

      Matthew

      • says

        I have some ideas of how the idea is going to make money, but these may change depending on pace of adoption of and user base size for the product. As well, I don’t plan on charging the day-to-day users to engage with the product, especially as it is user generated content. However, I will want to charge brands, retailers, etc. who want to tap into the GoodToGoOut audience. Any way to throw this into the value prop to make it sound better, or should I just leave this out for now and make it something more to speak to when dealing with businesses that might have interest in the product?

        Thanks,

        Emeka

      • says

        Emeka,

        You’re right – the value proposition you’ve been working on is for the users of your service. Your business partners (retailers etc.) will need different things from you, and so your value proposition for them will be different.

        A value proposition is focused on a particular audience. When you’re talking to more than one audience, each one may need a value proposition crafted for them.

        Matthew

  3. Heidi says

    Hey, thanks. After hours of searching for some good examples of value propositions, I stumbled upon this old post of yours and I found the template incredibly helpful!

  4. shane says

    Hi, can you help me construct a value proposition for our feasibility study. Our product is Tempura (a popular Japanese dish of seafood or vegetables that have been battered and deep fried). We want to put our stall near at the train station targeting those on-the-go commuters. Thank you.

  5. T. Colbert says

    I’ve been asked to present a mock value proposition (4-5 page powerpoint) for IKON office solutions. Unfortunately, it’s 100% fictitious. There is no information, needs analysis or summary. The document management industry is extremely competitive in this market. Any suggestions?

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