How to create a Unique Value Proposition
This article is the fifth part of our overview of marketing research stages. We went through the planning of research, analyzing the market and competition, and determining the target audience for our example startup. The next step is taking into account everything above to derive the UVP – a Unique Value Proposition, also known as Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Let us remind you that we review marketing research stages through our imaginary high-tech pillow startup, as an example.
What is UVP
A UVP is a brief description of your offer with its advantages and reasoning why the customer should buy exactly your product. UVP should convey a short message with three aspects:
- Quantifiable value – summary of specific benefits your product can provide;
- Relevance – proof, that your product will meet the customer’s needs
- Distinction – how do you compare favorably with competitors and why a client should buy from you.
Why UVP is important
The way, you advertise and display your product to the market is crucial for your sale rates. A UVP is the first thing, that the visitor of your website or social media page will see. Its purpose is to emphasize the benefits and unique traits of your product and to stand out among your competitors. In the era of short videos, pictures instead of texts, and the clip culture, the customers’ ability to keep focus constantly declined. A common person is regularly bombarded by tons of various information and has no time to read long texts with explanations of why your product is better than others. You have to formulate your proof in short form because you have only a couple of seconds to hook your customer. Well-composed UVP can not only help to stand out and prove the utility of your product. It can create a direct connection with a solution to the target audience’s needs.
People know what they’re looking for, and their needs are often clearly articulated. A strong UVP can immediately assure your customers, that your product will meet their needs. If a person is looking for a convenient system for storing data, do write, that your system is convenient to store and manage data. If a person is looking for a comfortable seat accessory to relieve back pain, we, with our example startup, will write exactly that.
UVP, if written right, is designed to address your perfect customer. In previous articles, we described a market analysis, how to find out how big your target audience is, and how to find your perfect customer. We found out where are your “hunting grounds” and what your “prey” looks like. A UVP is your bait.
Value Proposition vs Mission Statement vs Tagline vs Slogan
The mission statement describes the purpose you serve as an organization – shop, company, corporation. The tagline is a catchphrase, which expresses the essence of the brand and raises awareness. The slogan is a catchphrase, which is used as an element for advertising to sell the product. But the UVP goes into specifics – it goes deep into customers’ pains and assures, that your product is the best solution.
How to create UVP
What the value proposition consists of
There is no universal answer to this question. The generally accepted point of view is that UVP should contain headlines, text, and some visual elements – photos, illustrations, or infographics. Here is the approximate scheme of a good UVP:
- Headline. It should capture attention and shortly express the biggest benefit, that your product can offer.
- Sub-headline or a 2–3 sentence paragraph. A bit wider explanation of what you are offering.
- List of 3-4 points. Bullet list of the key benefits and features of your product.
- Visual element. Pictures are more effective than text. Show your product in detail or make a photo of the use process to reinforce your message.
Use Value Proposition Canvas
The value proposition canvas is a useful tool for visualization of the positioning of your product relative to customers’ needs. The canvas is made of two major components: the customer profile and the value map.
First, you have to fill out this part, which, ideally, could be made of your buyer persona. Fortunately, we created the example of the Buyer Persona in our previous article. The customer profile part consists of three areas:
- Customer Jobs – the problems, your customer wants to solve, using your product.
- Customer Expectations or Gains – what your customer hopes to gain by purchasing your product.
- Customer pains – issues and pains your customer experiences after solving “customer jobs”.
Here, in three corresponding sectors, you have to describe, what you can offer to the customer:
- Gain Creators – features, which help customers to achieve their goals and make them happier.
- Pain relievers – the ways to overcome the customer’s pain points.
- Products & Services – here you have to put those products of yours, which bring the most gains and mitigate the most pains of your customers.
Determine the customer fit value proposition
The next step, based on the customer profile, is to determine the right value proposition. Prioritize the products based on how well they address the customer profile.
Example of UVP
So, we have a structure and points, which we need to emphasize in our UVP. One more note: despite all the complexity we described above, the most important thing you need to remember is:
While composing UVP, always seek clarity and simplicity.
Formulate your thoughts in simple words. If your product, like with our example startup, is designed to relieve pain, write it straight – “It relieves pain”. And clarity – don’t use complex phrases and polysemantic (😄) words. You need your customer to understand your message instantly.
Our example, a high-tech pink rubber grid pillow, is made as an alternative to casual pillows, which often have a lot of flaws. The generic pillow doesn’t hold its form, doesn’t provide stable support, and it’s typically too hot. All these concerns could be solved with this product. It’s a futuristic device, that reduces pressure on joints, prevents overheating, and provides comfort for hours while being just a pillow or a cushion. Also, one can argue that a modern person frequently sits for hours, whether at work, while driving, or at home. And when it comes to sleep, people oftentimes neglect the rules of healthy sleep in terms of choosing the support (mattress, pillows).
As a result, all this leads to chronic diseases of the musculoskeletal system, which can significantly worsen the quality of life. All the arguments above can be proved with medical reports about the most common deceases, that today’s office workers suffer from the most. But these long arguments could be placed in the “About” section. For UVP we need to formulate a shorter version – you are not selling a pillow, but comfort, pain relief, and the possibility of preserving health. Let’s briefly describe points for the UVP Canvas for our example startup.
- Customer Jobs: Our customer wants to improve his/her sitting place at work to make it more comfortable for sitting for 8 hours.
- Gains: The customer wants to relieve pain in the back and preserve health.
- Pains: There are too many options of different pillows, cushions, or props on the market. Customer is afraid to make a mistake and choose the wrong one. And also customer wants to find a simple solution, without any complex manipulations.
- Gain Creators: The Pink Grid Pillow has a lumbar support option, so you can easily use it on your armchair at work.
- Pain Relievers: We offer professional customer support, which can help to pick the right model. Pink Grid pillows have sizes of casual pillows and don’t require any additional preparations or supplies. There is no way to use it wrong – just place it on the needed spot and the pillow will adapt to your body curves under your weight.
- Products & Services: Pink Grid Pillow offers various form factors of the pillow, including the lumbar support pillows, sitting cushions, and neck pillows.
After this step, we can determine, that the main demands of our target audience regarding our high-tech pillow are: simplicity of use and comfortable painless position. All the traits of our pillow we mentioned above could be used as reinforcement of our statements. And finally, we can construct our UVP:
Headline: “Super comfortable pillow for any purpose”
Paragraph: “Pink Grid is the universal-to-use pillow with innovative filling – soft but elastic rubber grid, which will perfectly adapt to your body, provide stable support for your back’s natural shape and relieve pressure and pain from your joints.”
- The special grid filling provides perfect temperature regulation
- Rubber is soft but flexible – it won’t press your skin
- Choose your size and use it easily as you wish – sleep on it, sit, put it under your back or elbows, or under your neck
(Well, we understand, that this picture isn’t a masterpiece of marketing; it was created just for the sake of the example)
Having the UVP, we now can move on to the next step – defining the communication channels, through which this UVP will be conducted to the target audience. The marketing communication channels will be the main topic of our next article.
“Marketing research” series:
- Exploratory research
- Study your market
- Competitive analysis
- Define your customer – Create a buyer persona
- Formulate the unique value proposition (you are here now)
- Define communication channels with a potential client
- Define your marketing strategy
- Test your product and strategy
- Implement PDCA methodology