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  • Writer's pictureEileen Licitra

Value Proposition Pitfalls

In its simplest terms, a value proposition is the value a company promises to deliver to customers should they choose to buy your product. It’s not only part of your marketing strategy, but part of your overall strategy: from product concept to customer retention.

If crafted well, it will distinguish what you offer, and get a prospect to say, “tell me more.”

Yet so often we stumble trying to articulate a compelling value proposition and supporting message points. Why is it so challenging?

A few reasons:

  • It’s really hard work to craft a great value proposition

  • It often requires internal consensus (which is also really hard work)

  • Important steps in the process are skipped; steps that might make the process easier

Here are some of those steps that, when skipped, may result in a weak value proposition:

  • Failure to deeply understand your target customers: To earn attention, you need to deeply understand your target customers, their challenges, and their objectives – ideally before you begin building your product. With the best of intentions, leaders often make assumptions about what buyers need and want, usually based on limited perspective. Set your assumptions aside, communicate with your target customers, and test your value proposition and messaging with them.

  • Describing your product vs. distinguishing the value: Describing what your product does isn’t a value proposition. Articulating what your product delivers in terms of results is. Focus on the outcomes that your product delivers.

  • Focusing more on competitors than customers: Competitive analysis is without question an important element in developing strong product messaging – just don’t put a primary focus on it. Figure out how you solve important challenges and deliver results in a way that customers will care about. That last phrase – “in a way that customers will care about” – is the most critical.

  • Obscuring with clever jargon: Some companies craft a value proposition with complex jargon that confuses the very people they are trying to attract and engage. Drop the jargon. Keep it simple. Connect with the pains your prospects are experiencing, and the gains they want to achieve. Even better: Ask your best customers how they would describe your product and the value they get from using it. Then use their words.

  • Thinking the words alone will make a difference: Putting together a great sounding value proposition is one thing. Delivering on the promise of that value proposition is quite another. Your value proposition isn’t about words. It’s about how your product delivers value in a way that’s important to the customers you serve, about what you stand for. It’s demonstrated through the results your customers experience when they choose to use your product.

If you'd like to know more about Insight Out Marketing's framework for helping companies develop a positioning, strategic narrative, and messaging framework, schedule a no-nonsense, no obligation 30 minute call to learn more.

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