How to easily extract the Value Proposition design from any business
What is the missing formula to easily extract the value proposition from any business using the Business Model Canvas.
The Value Proposition Design is a process to help you address the core challenge of every business: not only creating but also testing, managing & designing compelling products & services customers want to buy. After reading this article, you’ll be able to learn & apply the simple processes of designing & testing value propositions, that perfectly match your customers’ needs and desires.
Create products that sell
The Value Proposition Design helps you address the core challenge of every business: creating compelling products and services customers want to buy.
The Value Proposition Canvas is a process to:
products and services that customers actually want.
The Value Proposition process will help you understand how to:
- find the patterns of great value propositions
- get closer to customers
- avoid wasting your time with ideas that won’t work
The Value Proposition Design gives you a proven methodology for success, with value propositions that sell, embedded in profitable business models.
How to extract the Value Proposition Design from any business by using the Value Map and the Customer Profile
DEF·I·NI·TION: VALUE PROPOSITION
The Value Proposition describes the benefits customers can expect from your products & services.
What is the definition of the Value Proposition?
The Value Proposition is the description of the benefits that customers can expect from your products or services.
That definition should be a simple startup point. Unfortunately, this is the mistake that many entrepreneurs do when approaching their potential clients: they focus too much on the product or its characteristics instead of providing value.
Customers do not care at all about the characteristics of the product or service. They rather care about what problems they solve or what benefits they get from using it.
All that customers care about your products or service is the legendary
“What’s in it for me.”
Moreover, since everything always looks better with an example, imagine that you’re going to buy a car, and the car dealer pitch is something like this:
“This amazing car that has 4 wheels, yes yes … You heard it right … 4 magnificent wheels …
Attached to the wheels are powerful breaks, in case you need to stop.
It has a superb engine that consumes gasoline, with lots of conduits, pipes, ducts, wires perfectly organized so it won’t take too much room.
But that’s not all! It has 6 windows! Yes! 6 clear windows so you can see outside of the car… Look at the quality of the doors, which open to the outside, so you can easily go inside the car. The doors can even be closed.
And if you thought you had already heard everything … wait to hear this: it has a magnificent hood that can be opened and you can even see the engine when opening the wood…”
You get the picture; right?
Is the description wrong?
No, it’s true that the car has 4 wheels, and an engine, and breaks, and wires, and doors, and a hood…
This pitch was probably a killer when car salesmen were trying to sell the FORD T in 1908. However, if you try today to sell a car with those characteristics (4 wheels, an engine, breaks, doors, etc…) you will not sell a lot of cars…
The Ford T is a magnificent car: it has 4 wheels, an engine, windows to see outside, doors that open, and even breaks if you want to stop…
What customers want
If your customer is a dad with small children, he will need a car with a large trunk. Security will be an important factor in the purchase decision.
On the other hand, if your customer is a real estate agent, showing homes all day, he may need a small car that is easy to park.
Or if you’re a gigolo looking after cougars, maybe you need to buy a red convertible for the ego factor (just sayin’).
So, that’s why; when you sell a car; you need to start with the customer in mind. You must know the reasons your customers have to be able to offer them the best product.
Designing the Value Proposition
That’s what we are going to do in this article: Designing the Best Value Proposition thanks to a process.
As you can see in this image, the Value Proposition is the first step of the Business Model Canvas. The Value Proposition Canvas is the tool at the center of the Canvas Model. It makes value propositions visible and tangible. Therefore, easier to discuss and manage.
You integrate the Value Proposition within the Canvas Model, between the sections “market segments” and “value proposition”.
The Value Proposition perfectly integrates with:
- the Business Model Canvas
- the Environment Map
Those are 2 tools that are discussed in detail in Business Model Generation. Together, they shape the foundation of a broader suite of business tools.
The design of the Business Model Canvas and the Environment Map are beyond the scope of this article, but you can read more about them here.
The Value Proposition Design works for startups
Are you creating something from scratch? Are you part of an existing organization?
Some things will be easier and some harder depending on your strategic playground.
- use speedy decision making & agility to your advantage
- leverage the motivation of ownership as a driver for success
- produce proof that your concepts can work, even on a limited budget
- manage investors’ involvement (if you want to scale your ideas)
- risk running out of money before finding the right value proposition
& business model
- individuals or groups setting out to create a great value proposition
& business model from scratch
The Value Proposition Design works Established Organizations
Teams within existing companies setting out to improve or invent value
propositions and business models
- get buy-in from top management
- get access to existing resources
- manage cannibalization
- overcome risk aversion
- overcome rigid and slow processes
- produce big wins to move the needle
- manage career risk of innovators
- build on existing value propositions & business models
- leverage existing assets (sales, channels, brand, etc.)
- build portfolios of business models & value propositions
How does the Value Proposition work?
The Value Proposition Canvas has two sides:
- the Customer Profile that helps you clarify your customer understanding
- the Value Map that helps you describe how you intend to create value for your customer
You create real value when the Customer Profile meets the Value Map.
Modules to design the Proposition
Let me break down the modules to complete the design and offer the best product.
The canvas of the value proposition relates to the profile of the client with the value map.
By working on the client’s profile, we will have a deeper understanding of the client.
To do so, we must define the client’s work, the frustrations and the joys
With the value map we will create value in the form of products or services, alleviating frustrations and creators of joys.
When these two points coincide we call it “Lace” which would be ideal since we have made our product coincide with the real needs of the client.
If you want a real example with real data of my company at the end of the post I will give you a pdf with the templates filled with my example and other empty ones so that you can fill them with yours …
Let’s go to the detail with the profile of the client …
The profile of the client
First of all we will address the client’s projects, which is what describes the activities that your clients try to solve in their work or personal life.
The “Projects” describe the things your customers are trying to accomplish in their line of work or their everyday life.
A customer project consists of:
- the tasks they are trying to perform & complete
- the problems they are trying to solve
- the needs your customers are trying to satisfy
Make sure you take the customer’s perspective when investigating projects. What you think of as necessary from your perspective might not be a project your customers are actually trying to accomplish.
There are three types of projects:
1. Functional Projects
They happen when your clients try to finish a specific task or solve a problem. For example, clean the pool, iron a jacket, or write a report for a client.
2. Social Projects
They are those in which your clients want to look good, gain power or status. Such as going fashion or being considered competent.
3. Personal/emotional Projects
They are those in which your clients seek to achieve a specific emotional state such as finding peace of mind or safety at work.
Keep in mind that the client’s work often depends on the context, it is not the same to go to the movies with your children than with your partner.
On top of the 3 main types of projects, your customers also have Supporting Projects.
Customers also perform supporting projects in the context of purchasing and consuming value either as consumers or as professionals. These projects arise from three different roles:
Those are projects related to value buying, such as:
- comparing offers
- deciding which services or products to purchase
- standing in a checkout line
- completing a purchase
- taking delivery of a product or service.
Thos are projects related to co-creating value with your organization, such as:
- posting product reviews & feedback
- participating in the design of a product or service.
Those are projects related to the end of a value proposition’s life cycle, such as:
- canceling a subscription
- disposing of a product
- transferring the product to others
- reselling the product
Once we have the client’s project(s) defined, we must sort them between more important or insignificant.
Customer frustrations or Pain Points
There are three types of frustrations:
1. Characteristics, problems & unwanted results
These can be:
- functional (a solution does not work well)
- social (I am doing this wrong)
- secondary or involving unwanted sensations, such as: “It’s boring to run in the gym”
These are pains that:
- prevent your customers from starting a project
- slow them down
- this product is too expensive
- this product is too complicated to use
- It is taking too much time to work with this product
3. Risks (potentially unwanted results)
It’s what could go wrong such as losing credibility.
Tip: Make Pain Points concrete.
To clearly differentiate projects, pains, and gains, you must describe them as concretely as possible.
- muscle sore (after going to the gym)
- abdominal pain (excessive stress)
- chronic diarrhea (a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease)
From depression to PTSD, numerous studies have found that emotional trauma triggers the same parts of the brain as physical pain. In some cases, the resulting pain can be just as excruciating as any severe injury. You might think otherwise, but psychological distress is one of the worst pain a human being can experience.
For example, when a customer says “my back hurts when I wait in line too long.” Ask after how many minutes exactly the customer began to feel the pain. That way you can note “pain start after more than x minutes standing in line.”
When you understand how exactly customers measure pain severity, you can design better pain relievers in your value proposition.
Once we have a list of client frustrations we must order them from extreme to moderate, the first being the most important ones.
To find your customer Pain Points, you can use trigger questions
The following list of trigger questions will help you find your main customer Pain Points:
Too Much (of something)
- How do your customers define too costly?
- At what point do they say it takes too much time?
- At what point doing the project requires too much efforts?
- What makes your customers feel bad?
- What are your customers’ frustrations, annoyances?
- What are the things that give them a headache?
- Do they feel your product is OK, but that they won’t be able to do it, for lack of knowledge, or time, etc.?
- How are current value propositions underperforming for your customers?
- Which product features are there missing?
- Are there performance issues or malfunction with your product that annoy them?
- What are the main difficulties & challenges your customers find when using your product?
- Do they understand how your product works?
- Do your customers have difficulties getting certain tasks done?
- Do they resist particular projects for specific reasons?
- What negative social consequences do your customers risk or fear?
- Are they afraid of a loss of face, power, trust, or status?
- What risks do your customers fear?
- Are they afraid of financial, social, or technical risks?
- Are they asking themselves what could go wrong?
- What’s keeping your customers awake at night?
- What are their big issues, concerns, and worries?
- What common mistakes do your customers make?
- Are they using the solution or product the wrong way?
- What barriers are keeping your customers from adopting a product?
- What are the main obstacles preventing adoption, lime upfront investment costs, a steep learning curve, etc. ?
Xavier Lannes is the CEO of MyAdGency.Com & has several specialties: Graphic Design, Copywriting, Facebook Ads, Funnels, Sales Pages. Xavier's job is to attract, retain & monetize customers but find that copywriting, content creation & graphic design are the most rewarding parts. He has a BS in On-Line Publishing, a Master in Languages & certifications in copywriting. He also enjoys skateboarding in pools & bowls. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org