Your tactics are only as strong as your weakest link… how’s your message?
Value propositions are not just a list of features and benefits or the tangible product or service you deliver—they go much deeper. There are many traps you can fall into while creating your value proposition. Don’t mistake it for a slogan, and remember it’s not a positioning statement. Instead, your value proposition is the underlying concept that guides your external messaging by revealing the core differentiator of your product or service and why customers need to buy from you over your competition.
Your value proposition is the essence of your competitive advantage—it’s your secret sauce. It’s difficult to replicate and solves a problem in a way a competitive solution can’t.
In data, we talk about unique identifiers as a method to match data to a target destination—that’s your value proposition. It’s your unique identifier that matches a problem to a solution.
Value propositions should be a simple, definitive declaration of a unique identifier. If your value proposition can’t be read and understood in 5 seconds, it might be time to revise it.
Identifying Your Value Proposition
In 2 short sentences or less, your value proposition should communicate the following key information to potential buyers:
- What solution does your product or service provide? We’re not talking about features and benefits here, but rather the deep core problem that your product solves.
- Who is your solution for? What group of people is your product designed for? Practice managers? Veterinarians? Small animal practices?
- What’s your unique identifier? Why is your solution the best way to solve the problem—what is your secret sauce?
- What is the expected improvement? How will your product or service improve your prospect’s experience?
When writing your value proposition, put yourself in your customer’s shoes and write in their voice. Avoid flowery marketing words. You’re communicating the simple essence of your brand, not writing an advertising headline. Let’s look at an example.
Creating a Value Proposition
In this example, let’s pretend you’re a dog food manufacturer. Maybe your first thought for a value proposition is something like, “We manufacture high-quality dog food.” True, but here’s the kicker: So what? Other companies make good dog food.
Let’s try again. Your food is proven to be the most appropriate diet for obese dogs. They like to eat it and it helps them shed the pounds they need to. Plus, you have proof that dogs who eat your food live longer.
Now we’ve got something to work with. Maybe your value proposition for this line of dog food is:
Keeping your best friend alive longer by tackling canine obesity with a diet they love, that science proves.
If your competitor is selling dog food and you’re selling longer life, who do you think is going to win in a head-to-head deal?
How to Create Your Own Value Proposition
To get started writing your own value proposition, follow these steps.
Create a Matrix
Make a 3-column chart where you can list customer benefits, core values, and differentiators in each column (see the template below).
List Customer Benefits
In one column, brainstorm a comprehensive list of everything about your product or service that provides benefits to a customer. Write down as many as you can think of.
Find the Core Value
In the next column, match up the core value to the benefits you’ve listed in the first column. Matching the value should help reveal deeper customer insights that are key in crafting your value proposition.
Dimensions of your product that are both high value and differentiated are your secret sauce and should be part of your value proposition. In the example below, dogs liking the food is more important to the message than veterinary recommendations because the value is high and differentiation exists.
|Customer Benefits||Core Value||Differentiator|
|Dogs Like the Food||Pet owners feel good about what they are feeding and remain compliant with the diet||Yes, other food in the category isn’t preferred by dogs|
|Dogs Lose Weight||They live longer, they feel better, they’re more mobile||Yes, there is evidence that this is true, and others can’t claim it|
|Food Is Inexpensive||Accessible for all pet owners||No|
|Food Is Veterinarian-Recommended||Trust||No|
|Food Is Available at Big Box Retail||Convenience||No|
|Doesn’t Require a Prescription||Easier to buy||No|
Examples of Great Value Propositions
Now that you are ready to craft your value proposition, use these examples to get started.
- SoundCloud: “Hear the world’s sounds, explore trending music & audio”
- Shopify: “Shopify is everything you need to sell everywhere”
- Netflix: “Watch anywhere. Cancel anytime.”
- Dollar Shave Club: “A great shave for a few bucks a month”
- Freshbooks: “Small business accounting software designed for you, the non-accountant”
- Dog Vacay: “Find the perfect pet sitter near you.”
- Evernote: “Remember everything”