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What is a value proposition?
A value proposition is a short statement that communicates why buyers should choose your products or services. It’s more than just a product or service description — it’s the specific solution that your business provides and the promise of value that a customer can expect you to deliver.
Value propositions are one of the most important conversion factors. A great value proposition could be the difference between losing a sale — and closing it.
For that reason, it’s important to create one that accurately represents your products and services and makes it clear why you’re the best choice. However, writing it from scratch is hard. Download our templates below so you can follow along with the rest of the post.
Your value proposition is a unique identifier for your business. Without it, buyers won’t have a reason to purchase what you sell. They may even choose a competitor simply because that business communicates its value proposition clearly in its marketing campaigns and sales process.
That said, you might think: Isn’t my value prop interchangeable with, say, my slogan?
Nope. It’s easy to confuse your value proposition with other similar brand assets, such as your mission statement, slogan, or tagline. We break down the differences below.
Value Proposition vs Mission Statement
Your value proposition details what you offer customers and why they should choose you, while a mission statement details your objective as an organization. While the two can have points in common, a value prop is more product- and service-oriented while a mission statement is more goal-oriented.
Here are two examples for HubSpot and our CRM platform:
Value Proposition: “An easy-to-use CRM.”
Mission Statement: “To help businesses grow better.”
Value Proposition vs Slogan
A slogan is a short, catchy statement that brands use in marketing campaigns to sell a specific product. While your value proposition wouldn’t necessarily go in an ad (at least, not usually), a slogan would. The most important thing to note is that a company can have different slogans for different campaigns or products.
Here are two examples from De Beers Group:
Value Proposition: “Exquisite diamonds, world-class designs, breathtaking jewelry.”
Slogan: “A diamond is forever.”
Value Proposition vs Tagline
A tagline is a short statement that embodies a certain aspect of your brand or business. While a value proposition is more concrete, a tagline can represent a concept or idea that your business stands for. Most businesses have only one tagline that is instantly recognizable and connected to their brand.
Here’s an example from Apple:
Value Proposition: “The best experiences. Only on Apple.”
Tagline: “Think Different.”
Value Proposition vs Mission Statement vs Slogan vs Tagline
Now, let’s look at an example of a business that has all four: Nike. Remember that slogans can differ depending on the campaign.
Value Proposition: “Customizable performance or lifestyle sneakers with unique colorways and materials.”
Mission Statement: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
Slogan: “Twice the guts. Double the glory.”
Tagline: “Just do it.”
TLDR; While your value prop should help differentiate you from the rest of the industry, keep in mind it’s not a slogan, tagline, or mission statement. Those types of copy are important accessories to your brand, but your potential customers and employees don’t choose one business over the other solely based on these elements.
Your value proposition goes deep into the problems you want to solve for buyers, and what makes your product or service the perfect solution.
Now, before you write the statement itself, it’s important to create a value proposition canvas.
Taking these three elements into consideration, you’ll be able to make your own after you build a value proposition canvas.
Value Proposition Canvas
A value proposition canvas is a visual tool that helps you position your business’s product or service around your customers’ needs. The goal of the value proposition canvas is to identify how your business provides value within the market. You can use one when introducing a new offer into the market or when enhancing an existing one.
The value proposition canvas is made up of two major components: the customer profile and the value map.
Here’s how to make one:
Step 1: Create a customer profile to represent your target buyer.
The customer profile makes up the first half of the value proposition canvas. When performing this exercise, you’ll want to start with this section first so that their wants and needs can influence the overall value proposition canvas.
The customer profile consists of three areas:
What is the task your customer needs to complete or the problem they’re trying to solve with your product or service? The answer to this question sums up the “customer job” or the purpose of your product or service in the eyes of the customer.
“Expectations” are also referred to as “gains” — in other words, what your customer is hoping to gain from doing business with you. No matter what you sell, your ideal customer will have an expectation of what that product or service will do for them. In this section, you’ll use research to explain what your customers expect from you in order to purchase your product.
Customer Pain Points
As your customer completes their “customer job,” what pains do they experience? Do they take any risks while they do the customer’s job? Do they experience any negative emotions? These pain points should be considered so that you include the most helpful products and services on the value map side of the value proposition canvas.
Step 2: Create a value map for your products and services.
In this section of the value proposition canvas, three specific sectors help describe what the business offers to the customer.
These are features your products or services have that make the customer happy. Think creatively about the elements of happiness your customers experience. Consider their financial and social goals as well as their psychographics.
In the section above, we discussed customer pains. This section will define exactly how your business will help them overcome those pain points.
Products & Services
While this section won’t list every single product or service your company offers, it should include the ones that will create the most gain and alleviate the most pains for your customers.
Step 3: Determine value proposition-customer fit.
Once you’ve completed the value proposition canvas exercise, the next step will be to determine how your value proposition fits within the customer profile. To do this, you’ll use a ranking process that prioritizes products and services based on how well they address the customer profile.
All together, your value proposition canvas should look like this:
Next up, let’s go over the elements you should include in your value proposition when you’re creating it and publishing it on your website.
Elements of a Value Proposition
Your value proposition will most often appear on your website. While you can include it on marketing campaigns and brochures, the most visible place is your home page and, if you’d like, your product pages.
There are three main elements of a value proposition: the headline, the subheadline, and a visual element.
The headline of your value proposition describes the benefit the customer will receive as a result of making a purchase from your business. The headline can be creative and catchy, but it should be clear and concise, first and foremost.
Subheadline or Paragraph
The subheadline or paragraph should explain in detail what your company offers, who it serves, and why. In this section, you can elaborate on the information in the headline.
In some cases, a video, infographic, or image may convey your value proposition better than words alone can. Enhance your message with these visual elements to capture your audience’s attention.
To better visualize these tools, here are a couple templates to follow when formatting a value proposition.
Value Proposition Templates
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We’ve crafted 15 templates to help you create an amazing value proposition for your brand — and pairing each of them with an example of how they may look for a real business. Click here to download these free value proposition templates for your business.
Now that we’ve reviewed the elements, visual tools, and templates — let’s look at some brand examples that effectively identify and satisfy its customer needs.
Value Proposition Examples
- HubSpot: An Easy-to-Use CRM
- FedEx: Manage Your Home Deliveries
- LG: State-of-the-art Living Experience
- Subaru: The most adventurous, most reliable, safest, best Subaru Outback ever
- Samsung: Get Ready to Unfold Your World
Because value propositions are typically internal information and rarely stated publicly, finding a value proposition example to model yours after can be difficult. We’ve taken the liberty of using the value proposition canvas and applying it to some successful companies that have been recognized by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI).
In these examples, you’ll see real-world instances of customer gains and pains aligned with well-known products and services offered by these companies.
1. HubSpot: “An easy-to-use CRM.”
Headline: “An easy-to-use CRM.”
Subheadline/Paragraph: “HubSpot’s CRM platform has all the tools and integrations you need for marketing, sales, content management, and customer service.”
Most companies can benefit from using a CRM — even freelance businesses and small family-owned firms. The problem is that most systems are over-complicated and cobbled together, not to mention expensive.
HubSpot’s value proposition aims to target active CRM users who are tired of handling over-complicated systems, and beginners who are intimidated by legacy options. To that end, the product’s value proposition emphasizes its ease-of-use and ability to synchronize different teams across the business. The brand includes an image of a smiling woman to show what it would be like to use the product in your team (hint: it’s so easy, it’ll make you smile).
HubSpot Value Proposition Canvas
- Customer Jobs: HubSpot customers need to effectively enable their sales teams to do their best work while avoiding complicated workflows.
- Gains: Customers want to increase their sales rep productivity levels and boost sales.
- Pains: There are plenty of CRM options, but they’re often overcomplicated and create silos.
- Gain Creators: The HubSpot CRM platform offers streamlined contact management software and productivity tools that will help sales teams do their best work.
- Pain Relievers: The user-friendly interface and unified platform offers ease-of-use and high visibility across systems.
- Products & Services: The HubSpot CRM platform includes Sales Hub, an enterprise-level sales software that’s simple yet powerful enough to cater to the needs of businesses small and large.
2. FedEx: “Manage your Home Deliveries”
Headline: “Manage Your Home Deliveries”
Subheadline/Paragraph: Sending and receiving packages is convenient and safe for individuals who want to ship ideas and innovations across the globe.
If you own a business, shipping and packaging prpoducts is likely a significant part of your operations, but it can be a time-consuming, labor-intensive, and plain inconvenient process. If you’re a consumer, you’ve likely experienced driving to a shipping office to get your package after a missed delivery. Both of these are significant pain points for FedEx’s target customers.
FedEx’s value proposition makes it clear that it will make managing your deliveries much, much easier — whether you’re a business or a consumer.
FedEx Value Proposition Canvas
- Customer Jobs: FedEx customers want to share ideas and innovations with other individuals by shipping goods around the world.
- Gains: Customers want a hassle-free way to return online orders and are looking for a safe and secure way to receive their packages.
- Pains: Returning a package at a FedEx shipping center can be inconvenient, and managing home deliveries can be a hassle.
- Gain Creators: Customers can drop off their FedEx packages at places they shop most like Walgreens or Dollar General, and have peace of mind knowing where their package is at all times.
- Pain Relievers: Thousands of FedEx drop-off locations across the country, receive notifications when a package is en route and inform the driver where to leave the package.
- Products & Services: FedEx Drop Box locations make returning packages convenient, and the FedEx Delivery Manager reroutes or reschedules deliveries to work with the customer’s schedule.
3. LG: “State-of-the-art Living Experience”
Headline: “State-of-the-art Living Experience”
Subheadline/Paragraph: LG SIGNATURE delivers an innovative product design that creates an exceptional living experience for people who want to achieve a state-of-the-art living experience.
The right home appliances can make your at-home experience easy and hassle-free — or it can quickly create headaches with low power efficiency and outdated features. In its value proposition, LG targets customers who are willing to spend just a little more on the right appliance in exchange for a comfortable, hassle-free, and luxurious experience.
Even the imagery helps you imagine what your life would be like after purchasing an LG appliance.
LG Value Proposition Canvas
- Customer Jobs: LG customers want simple, yet innovative technology that helps them achieve a state-of-the-art living experience.
- Gains: Customers have an intuitive and responsive experience with each appliance they interact with inside their homes.
- Pains: There are too many unnecessary buttons and features on appliances that get in the way of a simple living experience
- Gain Creators: Customers can use technology to enhance their home experience without needing to read a manual.
- Pain Relievers: LG offers a simple design that focuses on the user and their lifestyle.
- Products & Services: LG SIGNATURE delivers an innovative product design that creates an exceptional living experience.
4. Subaru: “The most adventurous, most reliable, safest, best Subaru Outback ever.”
Headline: “The most adventurous, most reliable, safest, best Subaru Outback ever.”
Subheadline/paragraph: The 2022 Subaru Outback takes drivers to the most adventurous places in style with the most advanced safety technology.
Subaru knows that its target audience uses its Outback SUVs for outdoor adventures. So in its value proposition, it makes it clear that the Outback will help its drivers go off the road safely and in style. Even more, it states as much right in the headline.
If I were a potential Subaru customer, I’d know exactly what I’m getting from that headline alone. That’s why it’s so important to think about your wording, because it’s likely the first thing potential buyers will see.
Subaru Value Proposition Canvas
- Customer Jobs: Subaru customers want to explore the world’s most adventurous places in a reliable and safe vehicle
- Gains: Customers want to explore the land in a stylish and spacious SUV and look for advanced technological elements in their vehicles that enhance performance and safety
- Pains: The safest vehicles are not the most visually appealing, and some SUVs aren’t equipped for all-weather or all-terrain environments
- Gain Creators: Subarus have a stylish exterior and interior with ample ground clearance that protects the vehicle against damage from the environment and advanced technology to reduce crashes and make long road trips safer.
- Pain Relievers: Subarus have a rugged blacked-out trim for style and protection, 9.5-inch ground clearance for better stability and performance, and driver-assist technology that helps drivers see better, prevent crashes, manage cruise control, and brake automatically in emergency situations.
- Products & Services: The 2022 Subaru Outback with standard eyesight assist technology, automatic pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-centering.
5. Samsung: “Get Ready to Unfold Your World”
Headline: “Get Ready to Unfold Your World”
Subheadline/paragraph: This is everything you’d want in a premium, durable, 5G smartphone. Then we made it unfold — revealing a massive screen so you can watch, work and play like never before.
In its value proposition, Samsung effectively targets its most tech-savvy segment by front-lining its most innovative design to date: a foldable phone that can double as a mini-tablet. Even more, it solves a common pain point for some customers: owning both a tablet and a mobile device can feel unnecessary, so why not get the best of both worlds?
Samsung’s value proposition for its foldable mobile device is smart, well-targeted, and visually stunning.
Samsung Value Proposition Canvas
- Customer Jobs: Samsung customers are tech-savvy and follow the latest trends, driven by efficiency and aspirational lifestyles.
- Gains: Customers want an all-in-one way to enjoy media, work productively, and have a fun experience all in the palm of their hands.
- Pains: Common smartphones have size limitations that strain entertainment viewing, gameplay, and work capabilities.
- Gain Creators: Samsung offers a unique and expansive design with capabilities beyond that of an average smartphone, offering the most advanced technology to help customers perform tasks to fulfill work and play.
- Pain Relievers: Samsung provides a smartphone that displays content in tablet-like viewing and displays up to three apps simultaneously.
- Products & Services:The Galaxy Z Fold3 5G folding 6.2-inch smartphone with dynamic AMOLED 2X screens, ultra-thin glass with S Penfold edition, and super-strong lightweight armor aluminum frame.
You’ve seen some brilliant value proposition examples, now let’s break down how to make your own.
How to Write a Value Proposition
- Identify your customer’s main problem.
- Identify all the benefits your product offers.
- Describe what makes these benefits valuable.
- Connect this value to your buyer’s problem.
- Differentiate yourself as the preferred provider of this value.
Step 1: Identify your customer’s main problem.
While this will require some upfront research, you can get a head start on this aspect of the value proposition by speaking with different members of your team. Customer service reps, marketing specialists, and salespeople can fill in the gaps about what problems your customers are looking to solve by using your product or service.
For example, let’s say your business sells tax software on a subscription basis and automated templates are included in the software package. Your ideal customer is looking for an affordable and user-friendly way to access complicated tax documents for their business. In this example, your business’s offerings could be the solution they need.
Step 2: Identify all the benefits your products offer.
This step can be as simple as listing out every product you sell and describing its primary benefit. The benefit should be concise and focused on a single customer need.
In our tax software example, you’d list each tax template, explain the benefit it provides, and why a customer would need it.
Step 3: Describe what makes these benefits valuable.
Next, add another sentence that explains why this benefit matters to the customer.
Using the same example above, the value would be that customers have affordable tax documentation at their fingertips — something that would normally cost them thousands of dollars.
Step 4: Connect this value to your buyer’s problem.
Next, pair the buyer’s problem to the elements that make your product or service valuable. Do they align? If so, you’re ready to refine your value proposition to differentiate your offerings from the competition. If they don’t align, repeat the steps above until you find a valid buyer need and a viable solution your business offers to meet that need.
There’re three templates we think do an excellent job of connecting value to buyer pain points:
Step 5: Differentiate yourself as the preferred provider of this value.
Finally, polish your value proposition to make it unique. Is there a specific customer service offering your business provides that others don’t? Do you offer any additional services that other companies charge for? These elements can help differentiate your value proposition from competitors while keeping the focus on the buyer’s needs.
Once you understand these steps, you can easily implement them into value proposition templates as follows.
Value Proposition Templates
Steve Blank Method
Instead of focusing on the features themselves, Blank saw the need to emphasize the benefits derived from the features in a simple sentence. By following this formula you’ll connect the target market and their pain points to the solution:
“We help (X) do (Y) by doing (Z)”
Geoff Moore Method
Moore provides a template that’s more specific in identifying the industry categories alongside the benefits customers value. This makes a more clear value proposition formula as follows:
“For [target customer] who [needs or wants X], our [product/service] is [category of industry] that [benefits]”
Harvard Business School Method
According to HBS a value proposition is executed best when it answers the following questions:
What is my brand offering?
What job does the customer hire my brand to do?
What companies and products compete with my brand to do this job for the customer?
What sets my brand apart from competitors?
Now that we’ve gone through steps and templates to follow, there’s some tactics we think you should keep in mind.
Tactics to Develop an Effective Value Proposition
- Conduct research to determine the value proposition of your competitors.
- Explain the value of your products and services.
- Describe the benefits your ideal customer will experience when they choose your product or service over the competition.
- Develop a unique value proposition for each buyer persona you serve.
- Test your value proposition with your audience using various marketing channels.
1. Conduct research to determine the value proposition of your competitors.
Because your value proposition is the differentiating factor between your business and the competition, it’s important to research the propositions of your closest competitors. You can use the value proposition canvas in this post to determine how each company meets the needs of your buyer persona.
Be honest here — it’s tempting to focus on the areas in which your competition doesn’t excel, but you’ll have a better idea of where your product or service fits within the market if you key in on your competitors’ strengths.
2. Explain the value of your products and services.
You’re probably familiar with outlining the features and benefits of your product and service offerings. This tactic takes that concept a step further. By matching the benefits of your offerings to specific values that your customers have, you’ll be able to align what your business provides with what your customers need.
3. Describe the benefits your ideal customer will experience when they choose your product or service over the competition.
When crafting this part of your value proposition, include details about how your product or service will benefit the customer and use examples where you can. Videos, photos, and live demonstrations are all effective ways to illustrate your value proposition because they show the customer exactly what they can expect from your business.
4. Develop a unique value proposition for each buyer persona you serve.
Ideally, you’ll be focusing your marketing efforts on a specific target audience. You’ll also find that this audience will have different needs based on their buying behaviors. Buyer personas can help you segment your larger audience into groups of customers with similar desires, goals, pain points, and buying behaviors. As a result, you’ll need a unique value proposition for each persona. Different products and services you offer may solve certain customer pain points better than others, so developing a value proposition for each persona will better serve each one.
5. Test your value proposition with your audience using various marketing channels.
Each of these tactics will likely be developed internally by your team which means you’ll want to validate your work with your target audience. Your value proposition will be communicated through various marketing channels like your website, social media accounts, video, audio, and in person. Test your proposition with members of your audience (both existing customers and non-customers) using each of these channels. Tools like UserTesting can help you streamline this feedback process so that you can implement changes quickly to finalize your value proposition.
We know the makings of a value proposition, so how can you make it a good one? Here’s the last three tips we have for you.
What makes a good value proposition?
Your value proposition should aim to address a primary customer need. This limited focus helps keep your value proposition clear and easy to understand. With just one main idea to comprehend, your audience will be able to quickly decide whether or not your product or service will be the best solution for them.
Next, you’ll want to communicate the specific outcomes your customer can expect to receive from your product or service. Will they save time? Demonstrate how. Will their workflow become more manageable? Show a before and after workflow diagram. The specific outcomes will be critical components of your value proposition as they’ll exemplify exactly how your customers will use your solution to solve their problems.
Points of Differentiation
Not only are your potential customers evaluating your business’s offerings based on their own needs, but they’re also comparing what you offer against competitors. As a result, your value proposition will need to include detailed points of differentiation. These key points will help customers understand exactly what sets your company apart.
Compose a Remarkable Value Proposition
The factors that influence a potential customer to become a loyal customer are limited. Whether your industry has a lot of opportunities to differentiate (like retail) or virtually no unique identifiers (like dairy), you’ll find that a value proposition will help you understand your ideal customer and position your business as the best solution for their needs. Use the tactics, tips, framework, and examples in this post to craft your unique value proposition.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Mar 10, 2022 7:30:00 AM, updated March 10 2022