Three questions for business success – Part 2: Value Proposition

Jul 4, 2024 | Business, News

What makes my product or service attractive – my Value Proposition?

Borrowing from the world of advertising, Rosser Reeves of US agency Ted Bates was the first to coin the single minded proposition phrase in his book Reality In Advertising back in 1961. He concluded that unless an ad (or any communication) had a core proposition at its heart, then what you are saying is a waste of both the readers and and the advertisers time.

A great value proposition should:

  • Be easy to understand for your target audience, something that resonates with them.
  • Communicate specific results that the target customer will get.
  • Explain how you’re different from an alternative they might be considering.

A good value proposition has to be both relevant and compelling. Click bait is sometimes quite compelling but often not very relevant. Making you click, only to reveal that the compelling nature of the message is completely missing. Don’t be that person.

Good value propositions that find their way into the wider world can stem from: The product: M&M’s: Melt in your mouth, not in your hands. Service: Avis: We’re no 2, so we try harder. Location: Disneyland, The happiest place on earth Price: Walmart: Save money, live better.

So, how do you go about writing one for yourself?

Answering these questions is a good foundation:

  • What difficulty do you solve for your audience?
  • What do you do to solve it?
  • How does your product or service do it differently from other options out there?

To the extent you can, fight the temptation to break your business down into different product lines or services. Try to think about the big picture — your business as a whole. To write your value proposition, start by aiming to answer all of these questions in a single sentence. It may be a long sentence, but that’s OK. Then start to reduce the longer sentence down to something short and punchy. A good test is to think of it as if it was the only piece of signage you could have that told people passing in the street what was good about your shop or office. What would it say?

So it goes to show that if you are struggling to answer the three questions or want to step back from the day to day for a minute to consider these questions, then it’s a good exercise. If a publicly listed company like The Warehouse is struggling to answer them, then you are not alone and shouldn’t see it as a problem but an opportunity to ensure your business has some of the fundamentals of success covered.

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