The 5 Questions to Ask to Create a Compelling Value Proposition

Original post date July 16, 2009

I’m about to share with you the secret formula for; 1) creating a rock solid, compelling value proposition (for products, services, solutions, etc.) and, 2) aligning (enterprise wide) your corporate communications.  It will seem like a very simple approach, and it is, but once you try to get consistent answers from the organization to the following questions (in order) you will understand why this is so challenging…and why so many companies fail.

Keep this in mind, effective communication to customers must happen through a consistent delivery of the right message, to the right customer, at the right time, in the right channels to facilitate effective, efficient dialogue.

This is how you do it. You have to be able to collectively (with the right internal groups) answer the following five questions in order:

  1. Who? – what audience/segment are you targeting, and why
  2. What? – what do you want/have to say to that segment that is relevant
  3. Why? – why would they listen
  4. When? – when do you contact them, and how often
  5. Where? – where do they want to receive the message

Sounds simple right?  Here are a list of challenges you will face when go through the process:

  • Who – right off the bat, you will find folks arguing about your target audience, the segmentation approach, the segments, etc.
  • What – oh, you’ll have plenty of things you what to tell whatever audience you settle on but you will struggle with relevancy
  • Why – now comes the killer question…why would they listen? Seen this question bring grown men (and women) to their knees. The reasons are many; Marketers don’t understand the products, products aren’t differentiated, etc. Getting this question right is the key to the whole process.
  • When – the challenge is deciding on at what point in a sales process, a marketing campaign, events, etc., and the frequency of contact. Touch them too often and/or at the wrong point you’ll get opt-outs, too infrequently, you’ll get no mindshare.
  • Where – notice that I said, “they”, and not “you” on where the communication happens. Yes, it’s about your customer and where they go for information not where you want to put it. Find out where your audience goes to get information and/or determine their perference for receiving it. The othe challenge is ensuring that the message fits the channel. Certain messages/value proposition, etc. fit a certain channel better than others. It’s worth the time to figure this out.

This approach creates an execellent output but it will take time, discipline and many iterations to get right…good luck.

Published by

scott.gillum

Scott is the Founder of Carbon Design Co and the former head of the Washington, DC office of gyro, the largest B2B agency in the world. Prior to joining gyro, he spent a dozen years at a professional services firm that specializes in B2B sales and marketing. Scott also writes a monthly column for Media Post and has contributed to three books on B2B Sales and Marketing. Follow him on Twitter @sgillum

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