Your Value Proposition, or as I usually call it, your Core Marketing Message, is still misunderstood by most professionals. It's not just a tagline, sound bite or even an "Audio Logo." It goes way beyond that.
It really is the expression of the essence of your business. It's the foundation of all your marketing messages. It's what makes you stand out and be memorable in an overcrowded marketplace of look-a likes. And it always is more about your clients and their businesses than it is about you and your business.
A great Value Proposition has several elements that, combined together, pack a powerful marketing punch that's hard to ignore. These elements include the following:
1. Your ideal target client - Who exactly are your services designed for? It certainly just can't be just "medium or large companies." You need to zero in on much more specifically. What industry, department, technology, values?
2. Their problems or challenges - What are they struggling with? What's not working for them? What opportunities are coming up that they may not be meeting successfully? What keeps them up at night? You need to know this in your head, heart and gut.
3. The solutions or results - Where do they want to go? What do they aspire to? What are they excited about and committed to? After they've solved their problems, where are they going to put their attention and resources?
4. The unique angle - What have you got that nobody else has? And how is this an advantage to your clients? What can you do faster, better, smarter than every other competitor out there? You need to know this with a high degree of certainty or you'll just blend in with everyone else.
When you approach a buyer, whether through a call, an email, an article, or your web content, this Value Proposition needs to pop out vividly and urgently, letting them know you are worth paying attention to.
If you are going to express your Value Proposition verbally, you can usually do it in two well-structured sentences. These statements can be used in a wide variety of situations, from meeting someone at a networking event to calling a big company prospect on the phone.
Audio Logo: We work with companies who have large, widely diverse teams of workers and who are frustrated with high attrition rates and reduced productivity. (Target market plus problem)
Follow-Up: Our clients are interested in both cutting costs and increasing retention and appreciate that our "guaranteed worker program" results in the very best workers that stay 295% longer than the industry average. (Solution and uniqueness)
If you can develop a concise Value Proposition that is more than just words but is something you can really deliver on, you will find it much easier to get the attention and interest of buyers in big companies. Here are some of the biggest mistakes I see made in developing a Value Proposition.
* Thinking that it's not important - You've go to make this a *Big Deal* because it's really the key to it all. Sure it sounds complex and abstract. But the turning point in your business is likely to come when you "see the light" and start "preaching your message."
* Not researching and testing - It's not going to come to you in two minutes (unless you are very lucky). It usually takes a fair amount of research, brainstorming, testing it on clients and associates before it really clicks and you know you have something that works.
* Not truly differentiating - Often a Value Proposition only gets as far as the target market and the problem. That's good but it can be too generic. Only when you get into your solution and your uniqueness will you really stand out and be noticed.
* Not having enough depth - A Value Proposition needs to go way beyond those four points and two statements outlined above. It needs to permeate into every nook and cranny of your marketing. Every expression of your business, large or small, needs to reek of your Value Proposition.
* Not having stories - Stories are the most persuasive marketing tools you can use. Take your Value Proposition as the central theme around which you'll build your case studies and other stories that make a compelling and emotional case for your services.
To measure how strong your brand is copy and paste: (http://brandidentityguru.com/bightml/brandmasterpiece.html). Then click "Take the brand strength test". This is a short survey that measures the strength of any company's brand. It's a great tool to see where you are today.
Scott White is President of Brand Identity Guru (http://www.brandidentityguru.com), a leading brand consulting and market research firm located in Easton, Massachusetts, USA, near Boston. Brand Identity Guru specializes in creating corporate and product brands that increase sales, market share, customer loyalty, and brand valuation.
Over the course of his 15-year branding career, Scott White has worked in a wide variety of industries: high-tech, manufacturing, computer hardware and software, telecommunications, banking, restaurants, fashion, healthcare, Internet, retail, and service businesses, as well as numerous non-profit organizations.
Brand Identity Guru clients include: Sun Life Financial, Coca Cola, HP, Sun, Nordstrom, American Federal Mortgage, Simon (America's largest shopping mall manager) and many others, including numerous emerging growth companies.
Scott White is a very enthusiastic speaker and has the gift of being able to explain the principles of branding in a compelling and entertaining manner so that people at all levels can understand.