Value Proposition: 3 worksheets to help you craft, express and create derivative value props


 In Wednesday’s Web clinic, we conducted extensive live optimization of homepages. While preparing for the clinic, I reviewed the 24 homepages we selected for live optimization.

These homepages included both B2B and e-commerce, and covered local companies and large companies. And, while my test suggestions varied for each page, they all had one overarching similarity – they all could use some help with their value proposition.

So, I pulled some worksheets we used at B2B Summit 2011 (speaking of which, B2B Summit 2012 is August 27-30 in Orlando; I hope to see you there) to help you gain a deeper understanding of how you can improve the value proposition on your homepages … or anywhere else in your sales and marketing funnel.

Let me warn you … there are no quick fixes in this blog post. If you want to improve your value propositions, you just have to roll up your sleeves, develop a deeper knowledge of what makes a good value prop, and get to work.

Value Proposition Worksheet #1: Understanding derivative value propositions

“The average marketer hears the concept ‘value proposition’ used over and over again by conference speakers, theorists, and they read it in books. Very few fully understand it, and most of them can’t really impact it at the corporate level because they don’t have enough authority.

But, there is a way that the average marketer can influence something called the derivative value proposition. It puts control back in your hands, and allows you to make a difference, even if you’re not making the top decisions in the C-suite. To do this, you need to understand the difference between a core value proposition, a process-level value proposition and a product-level value proposition.”

– Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS


While you may not be able to impact the central value proposition of your company, you must be able to craft derivative value propositions at three levels. The best way to help you (and everyone on your team) understand how to craft a value proposition is to have you answer a question.

For your central value proposition, you must answer this question from the customer’s perspective: If I am your ideal prospect, why should I buy from you rather than any of your competitors?

Here are the questions you need to answer for derivative propositions at three levels:

  • Prospect-level value proposition: If I am a [particular prospect, e.g., college student], why should I [take this action, e.g., buy from you] rather than [this other action, e.g., any of your competitors]?
  • Product-level value proposition: If I am a [particular prospect, e.g., college student], why should I [take this action, e.g., buy this mp3 player] rather than [this other action, e.g., any other mp3 player]?
  • Process-level value proposition: If I am a [a particular prospect, e.g., college student], why should I [take this action, e.g., click this mp3 player ad] rather than [this other action, e.g., any other mp3 player ad]?

Here are some resources to help you learn more about a derivative value proposition:

Finding opportunities to optimize derivative value propositions on your own homepage, for example, can be extremely difficult. You may be too close to it to really look at it objectively. So, now that you’ve learned about what a derivative value proposition is, use the worksheet to test out your knowledge before looking at your own site.

Download the Value Proposition Worksheet #1 (Derivatives)


Value Proposition Worksheet #2: Crafting your value propositions

Now that you understand the different types of derivative value propositions that exist, it’s time to craft your value propositions. Here are some resources that can help:


Use this worksheet to help you craft your value propositions:

Download the Value Proposition Worksheet #2 (Crafting)


Value Proposition Worksheet #3: Expressing your value propositions

Now that you’ve crafted your value propositions, you must express them on your homepage. Here are some resources where you can learn more about expressing your value proposition:

Again, it’s more helpful to start on someone else’s homepage or other marketing material before looking at your own, so feel free to start with this value proposition worksheet:

 Download the Value Proposition Worksheet #3 (Expressing)


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