Perfect Your Value Proposition

Most market failures don’t result from poor marketing tactics. They result from going to the market with a poor marketing message, i.e.: not Relevant, Differentiated, or Credible to the target market.

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If your talk doesn’t say the right things to the right people in the right way, your marketing efforts will fail to produce the level of results you want.

Of course, there is more than one way to approach this, but here I’ll describe an approach that I’ve found particularly effective with B2B companies:

The Steps

Value Proposition and Messaging go hand-in-glove and are how you communicate your reason to buy to customers. They stem from your Positioning. So, if you haven’t developed your core positioning statement, do that first.

From there you build a set of Benefit Messages, then derive the Core (cross-segment/ cross-persona) Value Proposition from those. Later you can create Segment-specific and/or Persona-specific versions that are based on the Core. But we’ll just focus on the Core here.

The Core Messaging Deck

This consists of a set of statements that each describe a particular benefit and how that benefit is special or unique. Messages should first be written as an internal document but can later be converted into marketing copy for use in promotional materials.

To start with, you’ve got to be clear about what target prospects need/want so that you can match what you say about your product to the things that really matter to prospects. If you are not extremely clear about the prospect’s high-value needs/wants, you need to talk to some prospects or conduct other kinds of research to get clarity. We’re really talking about creating clear Personas here, but that’s a discussion for another article.

Your Benefit Messages must: A. express your solution in terms of those real-world needs, pains, and desired gains of target prospects; B. address their experiences with competitive solutions; and C. embody their attitudes about the value of a better solution. Strong messages hang off the intersection between customer needs and your solution. Write 6-8 of these using the following format:

[The specific benefit created] by [The special or unique approach of product]

Bolster each message with 1 or 2 pieces of supporting evidence that prove what your message is conveying. These might be drawn from be surveys or other studies, testimonials, adoption statistics, thought leader opinion, or other sources.

Core Value Proposition

Messages in hand, build the core value proposition. This is the coalescence of your messages as an overarching, customer-facing statement that can be used in promotional materials. It must be expressed in the customer’s language and must succinctly convey how the product is uniquely valuable to the prospect. Follow this format to construct it:

Lead Line: State the product’s overarching, special benefit in an attention-getting way. There’s no set format here, but it should express the idea within 3 seconds.

Example: “Reduces cost and errors so you can focus on customer service instead of customer complaints.”

Clarifying Statement: Describe how that benefit is delivered to target customers that makes it particularly valuable.

Example: “Our mobile management solution simplifies your staff’s data collection, manipulation, and reporting where they need it most- in the field.”

Supporting Points: List subordinate benefits. Prepare 3 of your key messages in customer-facing language to use here.


  • “Simplifies and speeds data collection in the field using RFID capture.”

  • “Seamless integration with your existing CRM.”

  • “Eliminates the most common data input errors.”

You Talkin’ to Me?

You get this right only if you are laser-focused on who it is you are speaking to and what is important to them, what the other guys are saying, and the kind of language they normally use and believe.

Relevant, Differentiated, Credible