Unlocking Your Unique Value Proposition

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Wait a minute. What is Value Proposition anyway?

If you’re asking yourself this question, you’re not alone. In fact, you would be pleased to know that some ‘professional’ marketers often don’t know what it really means.

A Unique Value Proposition is your market edge. It’s a sentence or paragraph that captures and describes the unique benefit your solution offers to a target audience and that ideally addresses a pain point or opportunity they face.

A proposition that includes a competitive bite stands to be more successful in the marketplace than one that does not. Meaning, a solution that delivers something better than other solutions (and you need to be able to prove that), is more powerful than one that does not benchmark against anything. While we’re on this aspect of a value proposition, the benchmark you compare against in your communication may even be your own ‘older’ solution that is now being replaced, if yours is the leading solution in the market or, if you cannot actually compete with others’ solutions.

Let’s also not confuse a Unique Value Proposition with a selling proposition or, selling line. We’ll make that a separate discussion in the future.

You might want to start thinking about your value proposition and write it down. That will be the first step towards more powerful communication as you focus your pitch around this promise. Don’t give up on the exercise if you find that once you start writing things down, that the process does not work out as easily as you hoped. Over time, the idea will crystallize and a strong, effective Unique Value Proposition will emerge.

Do yourself a favour though. Don’t try to pin a proposition without consulting with those who know it best – your current and former customers. This is the most important part of the process. In talking to a few of them specifically about this exercise, you should quickly realize there is a common theme that keeps emerging, and it will likely be very different than what you thought it would be. That’s what you should go for and build on. It’s what makes you or your service unique and with that, no one will be able to easily claim the same promise. For one, they’ll be looked at as a ‘me too’ pretty quickly and lose their credibility while you build brand equity around your promise.

The last point to take note of here is to maintain your message consistently once you’ve established your value proposition, and resist the urge to change it whenever you alter your marketing. Focus on it in the long run, and re-evaluate it as you go to ensure it remains competitive. It’s the repetition of the same message that will make you stand for something unique in your market. It will take time and effort. At some point, no one will be able to touch you on that particular promise, but only if you maintain your competitiveness in that specific area.

6 Comments

  • Beth says:

    I have always appreciated the word “unique” — so much so I was driven to the dictionary in order to share synonyms to the word. Yes, it is worth establishing your own Unique Value Proposition. Anywone would like to associate with someone who is, in a positive sense:
    “only one of a kind”
    “exclusive” – “exceptional” – “distinctive” – “matchless” – “irreplacable” –
    “rare”
    It might as well be me; although it definitely may be a challenge. Let’s make it work!

  • Ken Miller says:

    Tough subject to summarize, however your UVP must point to a real, not perceived/subjective, benefit for the customer. If I say something like “exceptional” that’s pretty hard to define and what’s in it for the customer.
    Good post that is thought provoking at any rate. thanx

  • Roger says:

    Thank for your note, Ken. Absolutely right. It has to be a relevant benefit to the potential customer. Not a description of how great the service is.

  • Gord says:

    This is an important topic, but your UVP is a key part of your brand image. You have to know what your prospects value and want. Agents mistakenly use benefits they want to give but in reality, home buyers and sellers don’t want those things or they aren’t motivated by them. Mentioning that an award winner, and that you work hard means nothing to them. What would you want if you were buying a home? Money, gifts, cheaper mortgage and so on. Give buyers and sellers the things they really want.

    • Roger says:

      Gord, bang on! Not sure what it is but even companies creating and selling products often fail to invest the time to find out what the end user values before they start development. Big mistake. Thank you very much for your input. Please come by often.

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