Marketing is really nothing more than communicating the value of you, your products and services, and your company to your prospects in the most effective (and efficient) way you can so that they will take the action you want them to take.
Usually there is a series, maybe a long series, of actions you need your prospect to take to get to how you are defining “success”.
Each of those actions requires your prospects to (consciously or subconsciously) decide whether or not to take the action and each decision (and hence each action) requires you to provide them with a reason to continue, this reason is a value proposition (“do this and you’ll get that.”)
There are 4 levels and questions you need to answer to define your value propositions and each are more specific to a particular situation than the last; these are levels of the value proposition, let’s look at each in turn…
Primary Value Proposition
Your company needs a primary value proposition, The first and core question you need to answer is: “Why should someone (an ‘ideal prospect’) buy from you rather than any of your competitors?”
Answers can be any number of things depending upon the industry, location, target audience, etc., some of the things you may include in your answer are:
- You’re better thought of in your industry (won awards, many positive press mentions, etc.)
- You are the low cost provider
- You are the premium price provider
- You have better “references” (like a prestigious list of customers)
- Your company provides superior benefits to your customers (more effective results, superior user experience, etc.)
Find the core value proposition and explicitly use it in your messages.
Prospect Level Value Proposition
Many marketers stop with the primary value proposition but that’s a big mistake.
You see, you need to dig deeper and ask “Why should a specific prospect (one being targeted in a campaign) buy from you rather than any of your competitors?”
This is the prospect value proposition.
Rarely does a successful marketing campaign target all the different prospects you may have unless you are very narrowly focused.
Therefore, for each campaign you find the answer(s) to the above question; this is generally focused on benefits that prospect will receive.
But don’t stop there.
Product Level Value Proposition
Unless you are a very small company with only one product or service you need to drill down even more and answer the question “Why should the identified prospect buy this specific product rather than any other product?”
This is the product value proposition.
Like with prospects, the vast majority of really successful marketing campaigns target a single product — don’t believe it, just look closely at TV ads, magazines ads, billboards, direct mail, online banner ads, etc.
That means that you need to know why your specific product should be what they buy and, of course, communicate that in your message.
This is usually also focused on benefits but you can communicate that in a number of ways: demonstration videos, free trials, etc.
You’re not done yet!
Yes, you’ve gotten your primary value proposition and aligned your prospects and product value propositions with it but there is one final step and question to answer.
Process Level Value Proposition
As I said above, every time you want a prospect to take and action you need to give them a reason to take it, that is, provide them with a value proposition.
Since you’ve gone through the above, you will have identified your primary, prospect and product value propositions and now you have to come up with a value proposition for each action in the process from first touch to successful completion; these are the conversion steps to get a specific prospect to buy (or whatever the goal is) a specific product.
To do that you need to answer the question for each step, here are some example questions:
- “Why should the specific prospect for the specific product open the e-mail rather than another e-mail?”
- “Why should the specific prospect for the specific product click this PPC (or other) ad rather than any other ad?”
- “Why should the specific prospect for the specific product enter their e-mail address?”
- “Why should the specific prospect for the specific product read your sales letter rather than someone else’s?”
- “Why should the specific prospect for the specific product click the ‘buy’ button?”
- “Why should the specific prospect for the specific product register for your webinar?”
Once you’ve been able to come up with your value propositions you should be able to create much more effective marketing campaigns.
Are you explicitly using value propositions? What have been your results (positive or negative)? Do you think I’m totally crazy :-)? Let me know below.