What is a value proposition? And more importantly, what does it mean to write a value proposition? At its core, a value proposition is a statement that describes the value that your product or service brings to your target market. It should be clear, concise and tangible. Writing a great value proposition takes practice, expertise and perspective. But to break it down in its simplest terms:
What is a Value Proposition?
A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered. It’s the primary reason a prospect should buy from you.
In writing, a value proposition is often called a positioning statement or a value proposition statement.
It’s designed to summarize, in a clear and concise way, the benefits of your product or service.
A value proposition can apply to an entire organization, or parts thereof, or customer accounts, or products and services.
You can use your value proposition in your marketing materials and on your website — especially your homepage and landing pages.
Why Does it Matter?
A company’s value proposition is a promise to consumers. It tells them what type of experience they can expect when they interact with a business, and it informs them of the value a business provides.
This helps customers decide whether to do business with a company or not.
A good value proposition should:
- Attract the attention of your target market
- Tell prospective customers why they should buy from you rather than from someone else
- Give your customer confidence that you can deliver on your promises
Value propositions aren’t just for products or services, either. Countries and states use them to tout their strengths in an effort to attract companies, investors and tourists. Nonprofits use them to communicate their missions and goals to potential donors.
If you want people to give you as much as their attention as possible, it’s important that you’re able to clearly communicate what makes your business different from others out there.
How to Model Your Value Proposition
The Value Proposition Canvas is a tool that helps you deconstruct your current or desired value proposition into its key components: customer profiles (jobs-to-be-done), gain creators, pain relievers, and gain creators vs. pain relievers (value map).
The tool is based on the work of Alexander Osterwalder, the author of Business Model Generation. His book introduced the concept of the business model canvas, which I wrote about in this article on lean business planning.
The value proposition canvas is an extension of the business model canvas introduced in Osterwalder’s book. It focuses specifically on your customer segments, what they want to achieve, and how your product or service helps them achieve those things – hence why it’s important to know what your customers value before you make any other decisions about your brand or product.
The value proposition canvas consists of two parts:
1. Customer profile
2. Value map
The value map is the centrepiece of the value proposition canvas. It’s comprised of 4 primary building blocks:
Customer profiles (aka customer segment)
Customer pain relievers (aka how you alleviate customer pains)
Customer gain creators (aka how you create customer gains)
Product/service offerings (aka products/solutions)
The Customer Profile is divided into 3 sections:
Customer Jobs: A customer job describes what a customer is trying to accomplish in a specific situation. Jobs can be functional, social or emotional.
Customer Pains: Customers have problems when trying to get their jobs done. The pain describes the negative outcome that a customer experiences if they cannot do the job successfully.
Customer Gains: Customers gain value if they can do their job successfully and avoid pain. These gains are often functional, social or emotional.
A value proposition is a statement that describes why a customer should do business with you. If you’re struggling to find the right words to express why a customer would be interested in your product or service, use this guide to help you come up with language that’s truly compelling and attractive.