When it comes to value propositions— when is it too simple?

Value propositions are suppose to be simple and clear. "Simplify your finances" is that a good value proposition?


I really like the idea of specific benefits. "Have more time" is vague, but "get to your daughter's dance concert" is specific.

Generally, if you can make the value proposition specific and something that your prospective clients can relate to, you've got a much stronger position than if you offer them the opportunity to: "gain control of your life", or "have more freedom."

Answered 8 years ago

No... it is not a good value proposition. Because it isn't a value proposition. It could be a slogan from an accountant, from some software, from a hand-held calculator, from a book-keeper... tonnes of things. And, As such, by default, it is NOT a value proposition at all.

These 2 videos are ALL you ever need to know about value propositions. Ignore everything else anyone else ever tells you about them - especially if they say it can be a short sloganesque type thing. This myth is propogated all over the damn internet and startup world. It irritates me hugely.

Michael Skok is a legend. Listen to him. Best 1.5hours you will ever spend on your business.

A value proposition is NOT a short nifty slogan. It is virtually NEVER articulated directly on someone's marketing material.... and it has to have an UNLIKE.

Answered 8 years ago

I agree value propositions should be simple and clear. "Simplify your finances" is a great start. You should then follow up with how your product does that etc.

Start with a best guess value proposition then let the market tell you what the real best value proposition statement should be. Do this by split testing various versions to see what the outcome is. Once you get customers ask them via a survey or phone call what they think the value proposition should be.

Always defer to the market for the answer to best anything.

Answered 8 years ago

Being simple and clear is important. However, a great value proposition also differentiates you from the competition. For that reason, I'd argue that "simplify your finances" is not a great value proposition. From a customer's perspective, it tells me very little about why they should choose you over another option.

Specifics are key to standing out and appealing to the needs, wants and desires of your audience. Your value proposition should clearly define the service you offer, and the end benefit of using your product or service.

To formulate a great proposition, consider the following questions:

1) Who is your target audience?
2) What are they currently struggling with?
3) How does your product/service specifically help them overcome this obstacle?
4) What alternative solutions are available? Why is your product/service better than these alternatives?

These questions will help you zero in on your main focus, and better appeal to your audience.

If you'd like to bounce around some ideas, and further dial this in, please feel free to set up a call with me.

Talk to you soon,


Answered 8 years ago

I always like to clear this up at the beginning before detailing on how to come up with your value proposition.

"You don’t position a product/service. You only communicate its position."

In other words your goal is to communicate your point of difference through your value proposition.

So simple, one liner value propositions work for established brands. For a small business or new comer you need to elaborate on your point of difference. Sometimes that can be done just by using metaphors.

e.g.: A web designer or design company may differentiate like this: "Web design is a tricky business. You can get a beautiful looking result, but if it doesn't work, it's useless, like a Porsche with a faulty engine. We deliver websites that both look good and perform well."

These are my tips for getting clear on your value proposition:

Firstly, each product or service you launch should have its own value proposition.

Depending on the market you are serving, you alter your value proposition accordingly. You don't just have to serve one market.

E.g. you may have a service that can cater to various markets but you niche at marketing level & create a separate value proposition for each market.

So, If I'm a fitness trainer who helps people loose 10kgs in 30 days & I know many types of audiences could benefit from my service. All I have to do is create a separate value proposition for each market I want to target.

So If I want to market to busy professional mums, my value proposition should specifically speak to their desired end result.

If I then want to market the same service to post natal mums, I can do that by crafting a separate value proposition to target them.

The key is this: You need to articulate your offer/value proposition in a way that speaks to your audience's (have a very specific person in mind) desired end result.

So to come up with a value proposition that speaks to your market's desired end result, I recommend doing this exercise which I call "End in mind".

All you have to do is picture your ideal customer's (clearly define who he/she is) CURRENT scenario/condition/problems, how do they feel in the present time with the problems they are facing etc

Then you define from their current state, where would they LIKE TO BE. What would make them happy? What can take away their worries and make them problem free? How would they feel if they were to have this solution? Would their average day be any different from their current state?

Then you also define, what is stopping them from achieving their reality? From solving their problem? From getting to where they'd like to go? Is it something they'd like to avoid? Something they'd rather not do on this journey of going from the NOW state to the AFTER state? List it all down.

Using the data collected/brainstormed above, come up with phrases that differentiates you from your competitors.

E.g. A landscaping service provider's value proposition could be, " We give you your Saturdays back."

But if you are not the first to the market with that proposition & too many competitors are already using it then you have to elaborate on that proposition to make it yours.

E.g.: A chiropractor I once worked with to help come up with his value proposition went something like this: "We work with adventurous, risk-taking enthusiasts to help them achieve a pain-free reality in 60 days or less WITHOUT giving up your favourite activities, resorting to unnecessary pill popping or walking around like a zombie, using our proprietary Rapid Whiplash Relief Method."

The above value proposition clearly defines the audience, their desired end result, even duration, taking care of their limiting beliefs and finally differentiating by defining a method associated with them only.

You see, the job of any business is to move their customer from their CURRENT/NOW state to an AFTER state. That is all. No matter what your business is about.

So what you need to do is answer this question for yourself that how does your product/service moves someone from their 'current' state to the 'after' state?

Once you can clearly articulate that shift, your value proposition will become much clearer to you.

If you'd like to bounce around some ideas, and further dial this in, please feel free to set up a call with me.

Talk to you soon,

Answered 5 years ago

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