In an article from Adam Grant called In the Company…
Your Customers Should Understand Your Unique Value
What one business statement makes everything you’re doing make perfect sense? It’s your UVP.
Creating this statement can be a fun and illuminating experience, if you’re passionate about your business. I hope you are.
Most businesses fail or succeed due to this one factor: their unique value proposition. This statement of who you are and what you offer makes choosing your company a no-brainer for your customer. It helps you differentiate your product/service/company as the only one your customer should consider. You’ll build loyalty, sales, and an unbeatable brand — in any industry when you do it right.
Creating an accurate, perfectly descriptive UVP takes time so have fun with it, open your mind, and get ready to see the core essence of whatever it is you’re doing. I want to discuss the basics of your business UVP and hopefully you’ll provide your feedback on how you did it and what’s important. I’d like to hear from you.
Seek Perfect Clarity – You Won’t Regret It
If your UVP is not crystal clear in your mind (or in your marketing communications), your prospects/visitors/customers will be confused too. Or, they won’t be compelled to do business with you because you didn’t hit the bullseye with them.
All of your business activities, marketing strategy, staffing choices, and goals, actually sit on top of your unique value proposition. Everything points back to your UVP. From a strategist’s point of view, it’s important stuff. Without it, you don’t really have a strategy. You’d have a bunch of tactics (which is how it really is with many marketing departments).
When you’re confused here, you waste more time and money , lose sales and customers, and even generate the wrong clients/customers.
It’s All About Marketing, and Marketing’s all About the Value Proposition
If you can only give your customers one thing, make sure it’s your UVP. No one cares that your product’s hard drive is bigger, processor faster, and that you have 1000’s of apps. Product improvement isn’t the key. Your current unique value — and this goes beyond features and benefits, to include the customer experience and personalization. We’ll get into the exercises in my next post.
In its simplest terms, a value proposition is a positioning statement that explains what benefit you provide and how you do it uniquely well. It describes your target buyer, the problem you solve, and why you’re distinctly better than the alternatives – Michael Skok in Forbes.com post.
Children, mothers, fathers, employees, athletes, musicians, entertainers, and everyone else have unique value propositions. If we fail to provide some compelling value to others, they’ll disregard us. Therefore, having a clear, powerful and productive UVP has survival value – and actually is a key to happiness.
It’s Not Enough to Be the Most Valuable – You Must Communicate it
Why do some of the best products and companies disappear? Because they didn’t get their message across laser accurate, or they presented their amazing value proposition to the wrong target audience. And not knowing your UVP means you don’t even know what compelling value you have to offer that’s better than your competitor’s. That’s why customers leave and go somewhere else, and why they click away from your site online.
Your UVP – Positioning You as the Most Compelling and Relevant
Your brand image and your UVP are intimately intertwined. While brand image is about the message being conveyed to whom, the UVP is more about the value of what you’re bringing. Some might argue that they’re exactly the same, but the customer doesn’t really see the whole value that is being created in the background. The UVP goes deeper into your company and its personnel and how much value can be generated.
Your UVP is how you do business and even who you do business with – your customers. It’s expressed in all your activities.
Selling Luxury Real Estate to the Wealthy
A good way to learn UVP strategy is through a case: My former client Dream Homes Magazine is the premier real estate magazine for the wealthy and prestigious. Its print publications showcase incredibly beautiful homes in California such as San Diego and all over the world. The pictures show rooms, landscaping, and vistas that can make you cry. The magazine is exceptionally well designed.
DHM caters to what everyone dreams of, but only a few will ever enjoy. And that exclusivity is a key part of their value proposition to targeted wealthy buyers.
The magazine’s photos and copywriting are excellent. Do they really hit the mark with the wealthy? If wealthy buyers do dream of elevated lifestyles, does the material convey the relevant lifestyle benefits perfectly? There’s plenty of questions to be asked to your customers and to yourself when you’re developing a UVP statement.
There’s no replacing the power of high resolution pictures in a big glossy magazine that presents itself almost as a coffee table book. You can’t get the same experience via a laptop or smartphone display. Technology has diminished a key part of their value proposition — an easy to read print piece that’s a conversation starter. Without that, upscale real estate agents may not be willing to buy ad space in their magazine.
Many real estate agents are testing waters with their own websites and online presentation. But you can’t hold a website in your hands like you can a print magazine. The print magazine is still a key part of DHM’s UVP (they have digital versions on the website).
There are Many Customers to Serve
Dream Homes Magazine has 2 audiences: wealthy home buyers and real estate agents/brokerages. Other audiences are advertisers of home related products. Now, online, there’s a 3rd audience. These are thousands of social media and web users who might spread the word about Dream Homes Magazine if they had a compelling reason to do so.
And that’s critical. To be successful, you must get other people to promote you – to pass on your unique value proposition.
Dream Homes Magazine’s UVP: [my version] DHM is the largest and most compelling source of luxury real estate listings and opportunities, and the premier, prestigious print real estate publication with the widest geographic distribution. Being listed in DHM is the only way to be seen, admired, and respected as a top luxury home seller, since buyers buy image.
Unfortunately, other competing luxury home magazines crowd the market with hi-res glossy photos and slick copywriting, and with good distribution. Competitors could position themselves to offer more homes of a particular type, price, location, and amenities. But specialization is very costly in print.
What DHM could do is grow their presence online via social media – to generate conversations that make the home shopping experience more pleasurable. Social media is all about conversations, transparency, trust, and delivering value. Digital conversations tend to isolate themselves to online, but they can also point to real world events, activities, and lifestyles. This is where a business can really differentiate itself and add value to customers.
More, improved pictures, slicker copywriting, better layout, and better distribution won’t do the trick.
This is the same problem millions of businesses are facing: how to do digital, print, and customer experience marketing simultaneously.
Their new UVP: [my version] DHM is the premier shopping centerpoint for the luxury homes most in demand by discriminating buyers. We offer unique photographic perspectives, distinctly styled copywriting, and showcasing of luxury home agents to present a powerful, compelling image to buyers, and we engage them in conversations that make their home shopping an intensely enjoyable experience. We bring our agents into buyer’s lives to help them discover their dream lifestyle.
Of course, the complexity of such a business is well beyond us, however the principles of discovering a UVP and building out your business upon it are the same. Be true to your core and you can be more confident it will work.
How To Get Started with Your New UVP
Discovering your UVP begins with good questions:
- Who are you and what is it you want to offer the market?
- Who is your target market precisely?
- What does your target market want?
- Specifically, why is your product/service the most relevant?
- What are our most important features and benefits?
- What is it that makes you and your company uniquely differentiated?
- What questions should you ask your customers when you interview them?
- How can you present yourself so that you can’t be imitated?
- Which marketing tools will best help you communicate your UVP?
- What needs to change from where you are now to where you need to be?
- What are you doing right now that’s really wrong?
There’s a lot of questions to ask, and you’re likely aware that asking the right questions is a key to success.
Also part of your business/personal UVP are issues such as being fascinating and compelling, choosing the right customers, developing your imagination, protecting your freedom, and identifying the skills your business needs to possess.
Good luck discovering your true UVP and applying it successfully.
Here’s a few more resources that might help:
- Unique Value Propositions for Dummies
- How To create a Unique Value Proposition by ConversionXL
- Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want by Stragyzer
Here’s a general description via an inforgraphic from Quick Sprout’s Neil Patel.
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