Polish your value propositions and then polish some more.
To help you convert so-so value propositions into difference makers, here are some guidelines that will be a big help:
Become Your Customers
Become your customers instead of just asking them what they want from your business. Listen, observe and study to creatively infer from what customers do.
As an example, Dutch Boy Paint took the approach of thinking like their customers. Paint cans are heavy, hard to carry, hard to close, hard to open, hard to pour, and certainly no fun. Yet they’ve been around for a long time, and most people assumed that there had to be a reason why they were so bad.
Dutch Boy realized that there was no reason. They also realized that the can was an integral part of the product: People don’t buy paint, they buy painted walls, and the can makes that process much easier.
Focus on Best Value
The most useful definition of a value proposition states that it’s a collection of the most persuasive best values why people should notice you and take the action you’re seeking.
It guides your decisions much more clearly and can be used as the basis for marketing messages.
Let’s take Zappos for example. If you are an online clothing and shoe business with a good selection, decent prices, delivery, guarantee, good customer service and a website like Zappos, why wouldn’t anyone buy from you? There’s surely a competitor who beats you in at least some of those aspects.
You don’t have to be the best in everything. Sure, it’s great if you are. But realistically, it’s difficult enough to be the best in a couple of ways. Zappos decided to push being number one in all things customer service. Doing a great job with that, aren’t they? Zappos is now a growing business because of their customer service value propositions.
Heart of the Value Proposition
The heart of a winning, unique selling proposition are the valuable results a business intends to deliver to its target customers. The end result experiences.
For example, the Safelite business model and value propositions are built around customer convenience and trust.
They take their service to the customer and build trust through a huge guarantee. Customers shopping for an auto windshield repair love that Safelite can deliver the repairs as easy and conveniently as possible.
Articulate for Customers
Value propositions need to be articulated for customers—not for your products, services or business processes. Products, services, processes are the vehicles for the proposition delivery.
Take a recent JetBlue commercial for a great example of how to articulate value propositions to customers. Have you seen the latest JetBlue commercial design? You know, the one with the great pigeon analogy?
Quite clever isn’t it, and likely one you will remember and maybe even talk about, right? And perhaps the best example of articulating value propositions in a commercial I have ever seen.
Utilize Multiple Value Propositions
When your customers have customers, different value propositions are required for different players in the value delivery chain.
The Safelite business is a great example of using multiple value propositions at once. While many businesses have a difficult time deriving one good, unique selling proposition, a few have successfully defined multiple ones. The best brand we could find with the greatest multiple selling propositions is Safelite Autoglass.
Have you ever heard of Safelite Autoglass and their business model? They have created the Safelite Advantage as a bundle of unique selling propositions providing what consumers have identified as their most important vehicle glass service needs.
Don’t Take Value for Granted
Customers perceive relative value in any proposition, even implicit ones, so every business delivers a unique selling proposition (explicit or implicit). You need to design it explicitly. Don’t let it happen by chance.
How did Dutch Boy Paint stir up the paint business? It’s so simple; it’s scary. They built their value proposition by changing the design of their paint can.
People won’t ever buy from you if they don’t even understand why they should pay attention to you. And they notice you only if you have strong, standout value propositions.
Have you seen the Fios commercial? If you have a product that truly discriminates you from your competition, build your story and messages around your discriminators. Several of the most effective value propositions we have seen in a while are shared within 30 seconds.
As the child in the commercial tries to do things with the TV, his uncle has to tell him that those things don’t exist in their system. But they obviously do. It’s just that the uncle is not aware that they exist since their system doesn’t have them. Don’t need to say much as the visuals do much of the talking. Powerful.
Always Demonstrate Proof
If you say, “My pizza is the best in the world,” will people flood your restaurant? No. They won’t believe you.
Without proof, you can’t say much before it starts to sound like marketing talk. No one pays attention—or remembers. They just won’t believe. Not believing, no trust. It is all downhill after that.
For example, I recently saw a digital marketing competitor site where they claimed to be the secret weapon of digital marketing for the most successful companies in the world. Needless to say, we doubt anyone can take that seriously when nothing supports the claim.
If you can’t prove your claims, people are unlikely to really believe them. And your unique selling proposition becomes of no use.
Here is a very different value proposition that you rarely hear about, and yet it is easy to demonstrate proof: Toms Shoes are quirky, comfy, light and inexpensive. That alone probably isn’t enough to make a company stand out in the shoe business.
The most unique and compelling part of the Toms Shoes proposition is that they give a new pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair you purchase. You don’t even have to remember the exact words. The story is what sticks in your head.
Who else cares that much? Very few.
Be Clever in Communicating Claims
It’s your job to hit people on the head with what makes you different and worth their attention by using clever ways to communicate your claims in believable and memorable ways.