When it comes to making a purchase, the first question on a buyer’s mind is always, “What’s in it for me?” Too often, businesses focus on answering the question they wished customers asked: “What do you do?” This is a mistake, as customers are more interested in learning how a company can make their work easier, save them money or time, and give them an edge over competitors. To effectively market to customers, businesses must understand what truly matters to them and communicate their value proposition.
A value proposition defines a company’s core business and the real-world value it offers to customers. A strong value proposition should ruthlessly edit and provide a clear messaging strategy that defines the category a business is in, the target customer it serves, and the real value it delivers. However, businesses must avoid three common errors: viewing their product or service from an entirely internal viewpoint, explaining what they do in a way that’s too complex or filled with jargon, and trying to appeal to anyone and everyone.
Crafting a compelling value proposition is no easy task, as it requires businesses to put themselves in their customers’ shoes and determine what their main challenges and problems are. Business buyers are not rational robots, and therefore, companies should focus on presenting emotional benefits that make things easier, smoother, safer, or aesthetically pleasing.
To write an effective value proposition, businesses can use a template, like Geoffrey Moore’s framework, to brainstorm and identify their target market, key customer need, category descriptor, and key benefit. However, the key to an effective value proposition is having a thorough understanding of customers, so businesses must talk to them and figure out their main challenges and issues.
Once a business has a value proposition, they should test multiple options and compare their message to their competitors’ value propositions. Ultimately, nailing down a value proposition will give customers a reason to choose a brand by demonstrating the brand’s relevance and its ability to provide a compelling answer to the question: “What’s in it for me?”