An Apprentice’s Search for a Good Value Proposition – Part #3


I thank all those who have sent emails so far. All the questions have been very good, and I hope our feedback has been helpful for formulating better value propositions.

One really good question that has been asked so far is, “What do I do with a value proposition once I have one?” This is a very good question and I plan on adding it to my original list of questions to answer concerning value propositions. I hope this addition will help.

But for now, I will move on to my next question.

Question #2: What does not belong in a Value Proposition?

From what I have seen so far in email responses, the answer to Question #2 is probably the most important information marketers need to hear in order to get their value proposition down well. And I have learned that there are three mistakes common to most of the value propositions sent to us.

Three Common Errors of Value Propositions:

1) Product Explanations

2) Vague Language

3) Statements Needing Credibility

I will handle these errors one by one.

Value propositions should be more than product explanations. It is very common to receive a value proposition from a company that is only stating what that company is selling or doing. This in and of itself is not a value proposition. A true value proposition must not just tell me what you offer, but why your offer is the best choice for your ideal customer. Your value proposition should answer “Why?” rather than “What?” This really goes back to my last post, but unless you tell me why your ideal costumer should buy from you and not your competitors, you are not giving me a good value proposition.

Value propositions should be quantifiable and specific. When formulating a value proposition, you want to use specific and quantifiable language. Don’t just tell me that you have the biggest selection; quantify it: tell me exactly how many and the variety of clip art graphics you offer. Don’t just tell me your graphics are the best quality; give me the dimension and pixel ratio specifics that set your clipart apart from you competition. This serves two purposes. First, it shows more clearly your value over your competitors’. Second, quantifiable and specific statements are much more credible to your customers. This leads me to my next point.

Value propositions must be instantly credible. Here is an example of what I mean. To say your value proposition is “fast shipping” or “best customer service” is not something that actually differentiates you from competitors in the minds of your customers (even if it is true). The reason? Anyone can say it. Unfortunately, credibility is lost in statements like these. However, if you had a third party—an authority—say your company has the fastest shipping or best customer service, this would give you credibility and consequently set you apart from your competitors. Bottom-line here is to make sure your value propositions are credible or you will not truly be different from everyone else.

Note: Your value propositions must truly reflect who you are, not just who you wish to be. You will not be able to fix a product or offer with only words or third party ratings. This doesn’t work. “Your value proposition is not what you say. . . . It is who you are.

So these are the three main errors marketers make when formulating value propositions. If you can avoid them you will be ahead of the game when it comes to formulating your value propositions, which will ultimately affect your marketing efforts for the better. I hope this helps. I will be standing by for any emails or comments you have concerning what I have said here. Good luck!

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