Is your value proposition meeting customer needs?
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Following on from our previous Marketing Nugget on market positioning, this time we’re looking at how you develop and refresh your value proposition, as well as make sure it meets the needs of your target audience.
Value proposition action one – start with customer needs
It might be your value proposition, but it’s how you meet the needs of your customers that really matters.
You could have what you think is the best product or service in the world, but if it isn’t meeting a specific need that your target audience has then it’s unlikely to succeed.
When developing or refreshing your value proposition, the focus should therefore be understanding your target audience. The aim is to learn as much about your prospective customers as possible.
Speak to your target audience
You’re unlikely to have the big budget that big brands have to work with research agencies. That said, there’s still lots you can do to find out what your target audience wants and in turn develop or refresh your value proposition.
You could conduct your own small-scale research project with three different stages. It need not be an onerous task and would give some great insight into customer needs. Here’s what you could do:
- Speak with people in your target audience. Firstly, reach out to people you know in your target audience. Then as a next step ask for introductions to people they know who are like them.
- Ask everybody the same key questions. This is so that you can then compare the results. Perhaps most importantly, keep it short with 3 to 5 questions. Focus on things you really want to know more about.
- Finally, make sure you use the data. Depending on what type of questions you’ve asked, crunch the numbers or look for themes emerging from comments people have made.
There are lots of different ways you can go about reaching out to people. You could speak with people one-to-one, as well as use email, social media and/or a free online survey tool such as Survey Monkey.
It might be that a mix of these works well and through using different approaches you get a good range of responses.
Value proposition action two – boil your proposition down
The insight you gained from your research will inform how you develop or refresh your value proposition. You’ll probably have identified lots of themes, which will feed into ideas for how you want to position your value proposition.
The first thing to do is to bring these together. Look for areas of overlap between your research findings and your product/service so you can sense check that your target audience actually wants what you have to offer.
Next, it’s time to boil everything down into a value proposition that’s succinct and easy to communicate.
Look at it from the perspective of your customers
Think about what are the main things you want your target audience to remember about what you offer? It’s likely that they’ll be able to remember a few things at the most so keep it to three key points.
When we helped The Escapologist escape rooms develop their value proposition we took this approach:
Three key points
- Escape – at the most basic level, they offer escape room experiences where you have to complete a series of challenges in an hour.
- Extraordinary – they offer immersive experiences where you can get frozen in time or become a secret service agent who’s on a mission to save the world from evil.
- Everyday – venturing into their mysterious escape room world is as much about escaping from the real world with its routines and daily chores, as it is playing the game itself.
It’s fair to say that there are three rather big ideas here. They were boiled down into a value proposition with just seven words, which bring them together in a way that’s easy to understand and remember:
Escape from the everyday to the extraordinary
This concept of escaping was a key building block of The Escapologist’s Xscape Yorkshire launch campaign. Their value proposition fed into the marketing messages, which reached over 160,000 people in just 7 weeks. This in turn resulted in weekend being booked up in advance within a month of launching. They also went on to add a third escape room at Xscape Yorkshire three months after opening.
Boiling down your value proposition will not only help your target audience get what you’re doing, it will also encourage them to tell others about it too.
Value proposition action three – be comfortable with change
After you’ve worked out what your customers need and boiled your value proposition down, you could be forgiven for think it’s ‘job done’.
However, the reality of the situation is that things are constantly moving. It’s therefore important that you keep an eye on what’s happening.
In many respects, this is a mindset thing. If you can be comfortable with the fact that things will change and expect it, then it will be so much easier to respond to what’s happening.
As you put your new or refreshed value proposition out there, you’ll find that you get invaluable feedback which can inform your next steps.
Find sources of feedback
Depending on the specific product or service you offer, customer feedback can take many forms:
- Customer reviews
- Social media engagement
- Comments from customers
- Website statistics
- Conversion rates and sales figures
The trick is actively looking for feedback and pulling it together so that you can see the bigger picture. Once you understand what’s happening you can then make the changes (or even tweaks) required.
Being comfortable with change is an ongoing process. It’s likely that your value proposition will gradually evolve over time. Not only will you learn more and more about your customers, but their needs will change too. Refreshing your value proposition is therefore just as important as developing it.
Value proposition – a quick summary
As always, we’ve boiled down this Marketing Nugget on developing or refreshing your value proposition. Here’s a bullet point summary, which is easy to digest:
- Start with customer needs. Conduct your own small-scale research project to really understand what your customers are looking for.
- Boil your value proposition down. Take what you’ve learnt, feed it into your proposition and focus on three key points so it’s easy to communicate.
- Be comfortable with change. As you learn more about your customers and their needs change over time, make sure you keep evolving your value proposition.
Looking for some help?
If you need support with marketing, whether it be your value proposition, branding or marketing activity, please just give us a shout. We can have a chat over a coffee underneath the space rocket in our office.
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