Great value propositions - the secret to true business success

We live in a world of constant change. We live in a  world where it's getting harder and harder every day to keep up to date with our customers' needs as well as differentiate ourselves from our competition.

Thinking you have great products and services is not enough. Today, you win through 'value marketing'.  What is value? Value is what your customer says it is! That is, it's the gains you can provide for them or the pains you can reduce for them; it might be effectiveness, efficiency, ability to enter new markets or a personal, emotional benefit  

But customers' needs change as well. What they told you a couple of years ago that they valued, may not be true today. You need to keep your marketing relevant and to validate what customers truly value regularly.

Here's a methodology you can use to make sense  for designing, validating and communicating your true value and shine in a competitive marketplace.

Opportunity - Review your business model, using a methodology like Business Model Canvas, and then identify the market you are addressing, the competitors you face today, and maybe tomorrow, and what you want your brand to stand for - your purpose.

Target - identify the sectors or segments you want to address. What is your perfect type of customer? Are there common needs you can see across sectors or needs that only certain sectors want. Then, how do you position yourself against your competition? What are you really good at doing? Innovation, customer service, pricing, quality?

Personas - do who in a target organisation do you want to influence? How will they find you? How will they engage with you? What position in the decision making unit do they hold? Buyer, Influencer, Expert etc? Can you create a persona that describes them?

Design - start with understanding your own view of your value. Workshop what value you give to your customers. What company story do your sales people pitch? What gains can you offer your customers and what pains, or risks, can you minimise for them

Validate - Your customer decides what's relevant and important to them... not you! You might think you have the best technical product but if your 'perfect customer' wants fantastic customer services, you're misaligned. Ultimately, you need to sell what your customers want to buy? Easy? Not at all.

Content and messaging - Once you have determined your customer-focused value proposition for your key sectors and decision makers, you now have all the information you need to create marketing programmes that are relevant, consistent and effective. By being consistent and focus, you'll also save money by ensuring your marketing spent delivers the leads and new business you want.