How to Identify Your Unique Value Proposition

Tim Stauning - Friday, August 7, 2015

keyMost small-to-midsize business owners know their business inside and out. They know their products inside and out. They know how to help their customers get the most from their products, and they can fix any problems that may arise.

But when it comes to explaining what they do, and the value of what they do, many of these business owners struggle. When it comes to identifying who their target audience is, they struggle. When it comes to explaining why someone should do business with them instead of another company, they struggle.

In many cases, the answers we here are inconsistent. Three salespeople say three different things. The messaging on the website doesn’t exactly align with the messaging on the brochure.

This often happens because the business hasn’t identified and documented its unique value proposition, a critical component of any marketing strategy. Instead, they take a piecemeal approach to marketing and messaging, which leads to inefficiency, inconsistency and lack of clarity.

A value proposition, in the simplest of terms, is a promise of value that your company is capable of delivering. It explains why someone in a very specific target audience should buy from or do business with you and not a competitor.

A value proposition is an internal document that serves as a point of reference, launching pad and idea generator for your marketing strategy. It can also be used to establish business partnerships and entice investors.

A value proposition isn’t a slogan. It’s a simple statement that conveys the value of what you do, followed by a paragraph or two of information that supports your value statement. To identify your value proposition, follow these four steps.

1) Identify your Buyer’s Persona

Get beyond basic demographics and take a hard look at who your customers are, not who you think they are or wish they were. What do they do for a living? What is their family situation? What brings them joy? What keeps them up at night? When you identify your target audience, you can more easily determine what influences their purchasing decisions.

2) Identify the Most Common Customer Challenges

What problems do they have that your company is capable of solving? What pain point is your company capable of relieving? As you answer these questions, make sure these problems and pain points actually exist, and that they’re worth someone’s time to seek out a solution. Many businesses spin their wheels because they claim to be able to fix a problem that their target audience doesn’t think is a big deal.

3) Identify your Solutions and Process for Overcoming these Challenges

These are your key points of differentiation – the ingredients in your secret sauce that separates you from competitors. Align each customer challenge with the most relevant solution and explain that solution. Explain how you overcome these challenges so everyone on your team, and all of your marketing initiatives, work from the same playbook. Explain why your solutions and process are the best or most desirable.

4) Identify the Results or Outcomes that you Deliver

Ultimately, people don’t pay for the pleasure of using your product or doing business with your company. They pay for the results you deliver. What results will someone experience after they use your product? How will their lives be better? Each result or outcome should align with a specific customer challenge and one of your company’s solutions. When you take the time to develop and document your company’s unique value proposition, you’ll have a valuable tool that serves as the foundation of all future marketing initiatives and messaging. This will provide the clarity, consistency and cohesion that customer and prospects demand – and most small-to-midsize businesses lack.

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