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How to Build the Right Value Proposition

How to build the right proposition - social definition

There is a process to this, and while it is simple in definition its execution needs discipline to be honest about the benefits of our products or services and to keep focussed on the clients needs (not ours) continually ignoring our own opinions.

Build the Right Value Proposition – Here’s the process

  • Understand your target client needs, any pains that need fixing, or gains that need to be achieved.
  • Define and Design the high level proposition of your product or service, identifying potential gain creators and pain relievers.
  • Map the elements of the products or services, and benefits onto the clients needs.

One model you could use with great effect is Alex Osterwalder’s Value Proposition Canvas (© Strategyzer AG). This model helps to understand your target client.

Understand and express the target client in terms of:

  • What Jobs they need to get done.
  • What Gains they hope to achieve in getting the job done.
  • What Pains they may be experiencing getting these jobs done.

The Strategyzer model calls this a Customer Profile and it explains why the client needs this product or service.

The Square on the left the Strategyzer model calls the Value Map, here you list:

  • The products and services your value proposition builds on
  • The features that are Gain Creators
  • The Features that are Pain Relievers

Now you can visualise, and more importantly challenge (and test) your assumptions by mapping between your customers jobs and your products and services. Similarly you map your client gains and your gain creators, and your client pains and your pain relievers.

We are aiming to achieve fit by creating a clear connection between what matters to customers and how your products services and features ease pains and create gains. A great value proposition targets a customers essential jobs, pains and gains. Your customer profile may contain many jobs, gains and pains, but this exercise and the resulting value map highlights which ones you will be focussing on.

Now things can get exciting, and serious. If there is a good fit, that’s great we have our value proposition defined and this will drive … everything from the brand down. Things get really exciting if we have identified unmet needs!

If there’s not a logical map – that’s good to find out now, it means there’s work to be done to refine your products and services, gain creators and pain relievers – design, test and iterate your value proposition until you understand what will resonate with your customers.

Value proposition development is not just for new products or services. Markets have always moved quickly, our clients needs are constantly changing. There are many forces at play, external environment, politics, competition even fashion and trends! Change brings with it opportunities to develop new propositions to meet evolving client needs. You should also regularly review your existing propositions and check how they fit your existing, and future, clients needs. Refreshing your proposition helps with retention of clients.

As has been said – there’s no room for guessing, no need to be vague, hope is not a strategy. This model focusses our thoughts and captures what we ‘believe’ our clients jobs, gains and pains are, and how we ‘believe’ our services map onto these client needs.

Next, we go test our assumptions. If we can validate the value proposition the odds of developing the right products or services, developing the right branding, marketing etc, the odds of developing something the customers want to buy are much higher.

So, go and talk to your clients and prospects, as many as you can, a statistically significant number. And validate your assumptions, test your products and services, positive feedback is great, but you are looking for enthusiasm, for buying signals – “Yes, that’s great and would solve my ______ problem”. Validate the clients world first, start by talking about their jobs, their pains and their gains, learn more about the clients – were your assumptions here correct? Once we are confident we have understood the clients needs, our proposition may have changed, but now we can test our assumptions around our proposition.

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