Steps to Developing Quality Value Propositions

Curtis Brooks, a principal with the magis group, a growth execution firm, contributed the blog below. The message is a good one for all business leaders to understand: Quality Value Propositions are critical and getting them right is hard work.

As a firm that advises organizations on selling & marketing effectiveness, we see our fair share of clients who attempt to define their “unique value proposition”.  They approach the task with two primary objectives; differentiate from competitors, and clearly outline the reasons anyone should invest in their product or service.  The exercises to produce these value propositions require significant investments in time and effort.  Many companies are disappointed with the outcomes because they attempt to define their unique value to a broad audience in a single concise statement.  In most cases, they overlook the benefits of taking a narrow & targeted approach to the market.  In this way they could articulate their unique message on a more granular level.

To accomplish this level of contextual messaging, world-class selling & marketing companies take full advantage of the intelligence available to them.  For example, they scour proxy statements of their publicly-traded prospects for important clues as to how they might position their capabilities.  The statements disclose executive compensation programs and bonus parameters.  They leverage the published insight to identify motivations of key officials and the results those officials require to maximize their compensation – then present their value accordingly. 

 To drive frequency in the approach they look for opportunities to (re)use the information for any prospect that fits the category.  The time invested in refining the value proposition for one prospect now pays off by being used for prospects in the same industry or with similar challenges. This illustrates why developing a competency for capturing key information is now considered a “best practice”.  Access to intelligence has become a major driver changing the game to develop a unique value proposition.

A first step for determining if your organization has taken the wrong path to value proposition development should be to examine whether you describe your value and differentiation in product terms that is not desirable if you want your message to be meaningful outside of your company.  This means you approach marketing & sales messaging from the inside-out (product perspective) vs. communicating your value and differentiation from the customer’s perspective (outside-in).  Adopting the customer perspective helps identify the intelligence that’s required to produce unique value statements.


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