Creating a great value proposition is a critical step in building good marketing messages but writing effective value propositions isn’t easy. Marketing schools still teach the standard for creating value propositions from Crossing the Chasm that looks like this:
For (bulls-eye customer), Who (purchase motivation), Our product is a (customer language), That (benefit), Unlike (competitors), Ours (differentiators), At a price (vs. competitors).
I wrote a post on this style of value proposition a while back and another on how you might craft a set of simple value statements. Lately however I’ve been thinking that there’s a step missing from the way we traditionally create these, namely the step that shows how you got to the value proposition in the first place.
Why a Value Proposition Worksheet?
Your value propositions will be based on a set of facts and assumptions. The assumptions will shift or become facts as you run experiments and execute on marketing programs. The facts will change too, as you evolve who your ideal target customers are, as new competitors enter the market, and as your own product changes with additional releases.
I’ve been using variations on the template (I sometimes refer to this an “offering template”) for a while and I think it works:
What Do You Do? – this is the simple statement that describes what you offering does. This isn’t the value you provide (that comes later) but rather the starting point of how you would frame what you do for someone you have never pitched before.
Competitive Alternatives – this is what a prospect would see as an alternative to using your offering. It could be “do nothing” or “hire someone” or “use Excel” or it could include an actual competing offering in some cases.
Target Customer 1, 2, 3,… – This section is for capturing a high-level description of who you are trying to market to. For B2B companies you need to think both about what types of businesses you are trying to reach along with the purchasers inside those businesses. For B2C you are focused here on segments of target consumers.
Key Differentiated Points of Value and Proof Points – For each target customer this section captures what the key differentiated (meaning clearly different from the competitive alternatives) points of value are and what proof points you have to back up that claim. For example if you say you are the fastest, best designed, most intuitive, etc. solution on the market, you need to think about how you can prove that using performance statistics, customer testimonials, 3rd party reviews, etc.
One Line Value Propositions – Lastly the template captures the value propositions. I like to have one over-arching one that applies across all of the target segments and then another set for each target segment.
What do you think? Is it missing anything?