containers on shelf value proposition

When you go to the store to buy toothpaste, what makes you buy that brand? Is it packaging, ad campaigns, the name, a childhood association, convenience, quality, cost, or company values that sway you? It’s easier than ever for consumers to find comparison information, to shop prices and brands, to investigate a company’s track record, or learn about a potentially better option. You have competition on those shelves. This is a major key to success, understanding why your organization or service is valuable to your customer (called a value proposition) and why they make the choices that they do.

Why You?

differentiation value proposition man with apples

I get annoyed when I hear a commercial shout out of my speakers, “Follow us on Facebook/Insta/etc.!!!” to which I often call back, “Why?” They haven’t told me for what reason I’d even be interested. You’ve got to give me some motivation to care.

A value proposition is a business or marketing statement that an organization uses to summarize why a person should buy a product or use a service. Whether it’s high quality, low cost, free shipping, points earning, great customer service, locally owned, or all the colors in the rainbow – you have to know WHY your customer buys (or should buy) what you’re making. See some examples of how to write one.

A Little Negativity Helps

I had a real estate agent once ask me what I was looking for in a home. I didn’t know what to say. His solution was, “I’ll show you a house and you tell me what you don’t like.” It was the first time a salesperson told me to point out flaws in a product. I didn’t like the fact that it was two story and didn’t want to share a wall. He smiled at me and said, “Perfect! We’ll find you a wonderful single level, detached home.” And we did.

I think about that experience a lot when I don’t know what something is exactly. It’s pretty easy to be critical (just look at the internet) so give it a try. This process is called differentiation. How are you different than the rest? Research your competitors and similar brands. Look at their features, services, and products to identify how you are not like them. Take those negative notes and turn them around into positive differentiating statements. Be ready for when you’re asked, “Why should I buy your shoes and not Nikes?” “Why should I donate to your charity and not another?”

The side effect of knowing what makes you different also makes you proud. Solid in knowing what you offer, how you help, and whom you serve. It makes communicating this information to the public much easier.

black and white clocks value propositionYou Can’t Replace Time

When marketing to get the attention and support of your customers, community, and colleagues, you’ll need to let them know the value of your social media channels as well. Why should they follow you? Why should they care? What value will you bring to them?

The biggest mistake I see in social media campaigns is the narcissistic belief that “if you build it, they will come.” How much extra time do you have? That’s what I thought. Your audience won’t just show up, you will have to give them multiple reasons to be interested. It has to be useful, valuable, entertaining, or problem-solving for them.

Do not waste your audience’s time. They’re giving you their attention, it isn’t infinite or guaranteed, and you’ll have to earn it with every keystroke. Time is the only thing we can’t replace, we can’t buy, and no one wants to feel as if they are wasting theirs. Show them your value and they will gladly spend their time with you.

Part of my Strategy series. Read more.

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