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Value Proposition: Differentiate Your Product

By: Angel Naya

 

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A great value proposition begins with knowing what your value is. You have to identify what it is that your business offers to customers that would make them want to do business with you. What makes your product or service important? Why should customers want it? Is there something about your service or pricing that would be alluring to customers?

Next, you have to identify your target audience. Who is the ideal customer for your business? What are the specific groups that would be interested in your business? What are the challenges they face, the problems they are trying to solve, and how do your products and services relate to those issues?
Finally, before you can begin writing a value proposition, you must determine what exactly sets you apart from your competition. This is important, as many of your competitors will have the same or a similar customer base, and offer very similar products. Your job is to differentiate your product in clear and provable ways. To effectively do this, you must first find at least one way you distinguish yourself from the crowd of other companies that offer products like yours. Then, you have to prove it.
Stand Out From the Crowd
Competition in the marketplace is almost always a good thing. It allows buyers to receive goods and services at competitive prices, and it encourages sellers to improve the quality of their products. Still, as a provider, you want to distinguish your product from the competition and ensure your company’s long term success. To do this you need to stand out from the crowd.
If you’ve followed the steps of defining your value proposition correctly, you already know who your customers are, what they need, and why your product is the solution to their most pressing problems. However, if your competition has done the same thing, the customer has little reason to choose one of you over the other. Your job now is to research the competition and see what makes you different. Do you offer the same goods at a better price or within a shorter period of time? Does your array of services outperform your competitors’? Do you offer a bundle of goods, providing convenience and saving your customers time? Are you a leader in innovation and offer your customers the latest advancements in your industry?
Identify your unique talents and the unique values you bring to the field and highlight those in your value proposition.
Prove It
Finally, it’s not enough to say that you stand out; you have to prove it. An effective value proposition will give evidence that the claims about your business are true, that your product and your service provides a quantifiable value. The proof you offer in your value proposition elevates your statement from marketing speak to something customers can actually use to make crucial purchase decisions.
Anyone can say that they have the best products, the most attentive customer service, or the lowest prices. Customers believe those claims when you offer up specific claims about why your business is different.
The key is to be specific. Use statements that quantify your value. If you have a wide selection of products (“Offering over 500 customizable templates”), offer more bang for each buck, (“saving customers 25% off the nearest competitor’s price”), or manufacture the best product available (“With a 97% approval rating in marketing trials”), you have to offer your customers proof of your claims.
Published: October 10, 2013
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Angel Naya

Office Depot Director of Marketing, Small Business Strategy. A seasoned marketer, Angel focuses on developing strategies to effectively engage small businesses throughout the year at Office Depot.  Prior to joining Office Depot, Angel worked in Marketing at Procter and Gamble and earned his MBA in Marketing from Xavier University and his undergraduate degree in Entrepreneurship from Carnegie Mellon University.

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