Whilst carrying out some research recently I realised that I need to arrive at a more granular categorisation of the types or categories of value propositions that vendors use.
And in attempting to do that I stumbled across an interesting read on the ITSMA site entitled Why You Need Three Different Types of Value Propositions. I hadn’t heard of ITSMA before but it appears that they focus on helping high-tech organisations to market solutions and services. I’ll certainly track them from here on in because I felt that I could have written the blog entry myself as it matches my own personal experience very accurately.
The three types of value proposition that the author refers to are in fact not the same as the categories of value proposition that I’m looking for but more of that in a future blog entry. But, I was also struck by the process that the author Julie Schwartz advocates for developing value propositions see below:
Step 1. Understand the market and clients.
Step 2. Determine your true differentiators.
Step 3. Articulate unique value based on customer need.
Step 4. Quantify value.
Step 5. Elicit internal and external feedback and revise.
Step 6. Collaborate with sales to communicate value propositions.
as again it is similar to our own advice on building propositions in my blog entry from last November here.
1. Understand what the competition is doing
2. Understand your own capabilities and how you are different from the competition (*and change your positioning and messaging if required)
3. Understand where your prospects are still willing to spend money – the funded initiatives
4. Understand what pain is causing the prospect to still spend money – what are they looking to achieve?
5. Create messaging by mapping your own capabilities and differentiation, to the prospect’s pains and their willingness to spend
6. Retrain the sales force with the new focus/messaging
7. Use the right medium to get your proposition in front of the right person in the right organisations
Having said all of that, I do feel that there is a terminological difference between Julie’s value proposition and my own. I think the use that Julie has settled on, and let’s be clear there are no hard and fast defitions for the stuff – it’s a matter of personal preference, is similar, but not identical to some of the elements of what I would refer to as the positioning statement.
Personally, I use the value proposition term in two ways. Firstly, and very generally, the statement of the type of benefit that will be enjoyed AFTER a prospect has become a client.
It will reduce the risk of failure
It will deliver projects quicker
It will increase profit
Secondly, the internal strategic marketing deliverable that product marketing/communications individuals are responsible for crafting is a formal definition of a specific proposition to a specific audience.
For this I usually follow a format similar to the one below:
1. A statement of quanitifiable benefit that a specific audience will enjoy AFTER they do business with you
2. An interpretation of what that benefit will mean for the specific audience
3. Proof of where the company has previously delivered this value to a similar audience and what the result was
An example (numbers only to illustrate the sections above):
1) By utilising our technology, mobile telephone operators can roll out new services between 2 to 3 months earlier than traditional approaches. 2) In a very competitive market this provides significant competitive advantage and increased revenues as enjoyed by 3) XYZTelco who we helped to bring a location-based SMS service to market in under 3 months from project inception. This led to them gaining a market leadership position for this service.
Anyway, I’ll revisit the categories of benefit/value that I’m really interested in an an up-coming blog but I thought I’d share this interesting read with you.