This month, I’m pleased to have Daniel Burstein, director of editorial content at MECLABS, contribute a blog post about the importance of value proposition to marketers. MECLABS has produced boatloads of content through its publishing brands, MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa, to help marketers discover and communicate their value props, and Daniel has broken all this info down to the four fundamental elements of the value proposition you need to get right to get that lead:
[caption id="attachment_2482" align="alignright" width="100" caption="Daniel Burstein, director of editorial content, MECLABS"]
“If I’m your ideal customer, why should I buy from you?” That’s how we define value proposition at MECLABS.
Why should I care about my value proposition?
But first, a fair question. Why even put time and energy into discovering and then clearly communicating your value proposition? After all, you’re a busy marketer, constantly creating campaigns, writing copy or working with agencies to drive leads.
Simply put, no matter how wonderful everyone within your company thinks your products or services are, you need to communicate (and deliver) real value to get customers to want to buy from you, or even to want to learn to buy from you by becoming a lead.
Or, as Peter Drucker describes it:
“A company’s primary responsibility is to serve its customers, to provide the goods or services which the company exists to produce. Profit is not the primary goal but rather an essential condition for the company’s continued existence. Other responsibilities, e.g., to employees and society, exist to support the company’s continued ability to carry out its primary purpose.”
Sure, you could still drive leads without a sound value proposition. Any marketer good at the blocking and tackling can generate enough noise to get at least a few people to stick their email address in a lead form. But you’ll generate more leads with less marketing effort—and better leads to boot—with a true value proposition.
So, let’s take a look at a few tips and resources to help you do just that:
1) Truly discover your value
First, you need to fully understand why customers buy from you. What value do you really offer them? To be clear, this is:
- Not the value that is dictated out of some boardroom
- Not the value a clever copywriter comes up with based on your brand name without even understanding what your product does (and, in fairness, I’ve been that copywriter in the past)
- Not the value your product developers think your product has because they’re so excited about the confusing features and widgets they’ve added to your product
Here are a few resources to help you discover that value:
2) Measure and test that value
Once you’ve got a firm bead on that value, it’s time to put it down on paper, get your most trusted team together, and measure the force of that value proposition by trying to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Then, you’ll need to actually test that value prop with your customers. Some resources to assist:
3) Be clear and be transparent
So now you’ve nailed that value prop. Congratulations! It’s no easy task. When getting our hands dirty and working on the value proposition for our own Email Summit, I can tell you first-hand it takes blood, sweat and tears to get it done. It’s much easier for me to sit here and write this blog post than to create a value prop. So you deserve a hearty pat on the back.
Now, get out of the way with your marketing. In other words, make sure that your value proposition shines through in everything you do. That means anything that serves to hype instead of clearly communicate your value should be gone. You want clear, transparent marketing. A few resources:
At the end of it all, you’ve got to be a little like Karl Malone, the Mailman, and make sure your company flat-out delivers. As a marketer, you’re essentially making the promise to your customers about what your company will do. If you don’t deliver on that value, you damage your brand and start all your future campaigns with one hand tied behind your back. More resources:
Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, will be teaching more about value proposition at B2B Summit 2011 in San Francisco, Calif., Oct. 24-25. Daniel will also be moderating a quick hit lead gen panel to help marketers go out and drum up some leads once you’ve nailed that value prop. It’s a fun, interactive panel where the audience gets to vote (and win prizes in doing so) for the most valuable speaker.