Perhaps you’ve been in a similar meeting. We were discussing plans for the upcoming Email Summit, when someone brought up an idea for an interesting pre-event workshop.
We debated it a little. The pros. The cons.
Personally, I loved the idea.
But how should we decide if this was the right approach to take? Based on our past experience? Based on the highest paid person’s opinion? Based on the stars?
The fault, dear Brutus, lies in our value props (or lack thereof)
And then Justin Bridegan, Senior Marketing Manager, MECLABS, said something that instantly killed the conversation, “Wait a minute…this idea goes against our value proposition.”
As Alex Bogusky has said, “The most effective advertising a company does is the way it conducts business.” If we do something that goes against our value proposition, that flies in the face of the value we provide our customers, and all the marketing and advertising in the world is not going to help us once we’ve burned that bridge.
For this reason, a value proposition serves as an excellent North Star to help guide decisions made in any strategy meeting or on any steering committee, much like an A/B test is a great way to win any marketing debate (“Which headline will perform better? Instead of debating, let’s try both and see what our customers tell us.”)
If we didn’t have that clearly defined value proposition, the decision would not have been as clear cut.
What is a value proposition?
A quick primer if you’re unfamiliar with those two words, at MarketingExperiments we define your value proposition as the answer to this fundamental question:
Why should your ideal prospect buy from you rather than any of your competitors?
This is not a slogan or a headline or anything that will likely appear, as specifically worded, in any of your advertising creative. It’s also not your mission statement or business plan.
How do I craft an effective value proposition?
I’ll let you in on a little secret…crafting effective value propositions is really, really hard. For all we’ve researched and taught about value props, I still struggle with them myself.
But as we’ve wrestled with them over the years, we’ve also created several resources that I hope you’ll find helpful in crafting your own value propositions, and using them to win the next argument…um…I mean…guide your thinking in your next strategy meeting.
You can start with the MarketingExperiments Value Proposition Worksheet:
This simple, two-page worksheet can help you begin to identify and express your Value Proposition. If you’d like to dig a little deeper, here are a few more resources that you may find helpful:
Also, Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, will be teaching about value proposition at B2B Summit 2011 in Boston and San Francisco.