Do You Have a Strong Value Proposition?

Long before you plan advertising, develop marketing campaigns or structure customer offers it’s imperative that you have a strong value proposition. Generally speaking, your value proposition refers to the promise your business makes to deliver value to your customers.

Your value proposition, if used successfully, can help shape the programs and messages you deliver to your target audience and ultimately improve your overall success.

If you’re developing (or refining) your value proposition, here are a few concepts you might find helpful in the process.

value propositions lowFocus unerringly on your target market. Remember, your message revolves around what’s best for your customers, not how “good” your business is. Research the needs of your market extensively. Become thoroughly versed on how customers use your products or services and why they choose to do business with you.

Tailor your offerings to what’s of greatest value to these customers. Study your target market until you have an in-depth knowledge of how your offerings provide differentiated value to your target market that they would benefit from. That is, what value will your customers receive by doing business with you that they cannot get with one of your competitors? Once you determine that factor focus on the best ways to communicate this value to your customers.

Emphasize outcomes, rather than product features. All the dazzling bells and whistles you build around your products won’t count for much if the customer is unclear about the outcome from using them. In general, what drives customer interest is the perception that purchasing your products will see outcomes related to higher efficiency, future sales of their own products or services, and a greater perceived value of their products to customers.

Let customers testify to your value proposition. Nothing’s more persuasive than hearing good things about your business from past or existing customers. Don’t hesitate to request brief testimonials from your loyal customers and then promote those – along with detailed case studies – in your marketing and social media efforts. There’s no clearer proof of the good work your company does than satisfied customers speaking about it in their own words.

The value you provide your customers is basically the starting point for all business operations. In addition, from our experience in the hardwood lumber industry, we have found that if you start with “why” your company exists and inspire customers with the benefits they would realize  from doing business with you, you can develop a value proposition that is compelling.

One basic format you can use to help get you started could be something like the following:

FOR: the selected customer segment (i.e. companies that need hardwood lumber)

OUR: describe our product/service attributes (i.e. personalized hardwood solutions)

THAT: differentiate our product/service from the competition (i.e. improve yields and develop special products)

BENEFITS: at least one (i.e. access to large quantities of supply)

POINTS OF DIFFERENCE: differentiating items to separate you from the competition (i.e. provide you a one-stop-shop for all your hardwood needs)

COMPELLING REASONS: for customers to buy from you, not the competition (i.e. simplifying your inventory management and helping you succeed!)

Do you have any other best practices or suggestions for developing a value proposition? Let us know. We would welcome the conversation.

Tony Cimorelli
Baillie Lumber










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