Finding it hard to sell your product? You might've missed out on the most important step in marketing--using the value proposition canvas!
A value proposition canvas helps you position your product strategically in the eyes of your target customers. It’s a simple way to understand what they want, and how your product can fill that need.
The best part is, once you have your value proposition canvas figured out, you can use it as a roadmap for all your marketing efforts! So if you’re ready to learn how to create a value proposition canvas of your own, keep reading!
Value Proposition Canvas Explained
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What Is a Value Proposition Canvas?
A value proposition canvas is a tool that helps you map out the relationship between what your customers want and what your product offers. It helps startups and businesses to validate their product-market fit.
You can think of the value proposition canvas like a contract between you and your customer. It’s a way to make sure that you’re always clear on what they want and how your product can help them get it.
The canvas is generally divided into two sections: customer profile and value proposition.
The customer profile section helps businesses to identify and understand their target customer, including their needs and pain points. Meanwhile, the value proposition section pertains to the promise of value to be delivered. It's the primary reason a prospect should buy from you. And it's unique to your offer.
A strong value proposition immediately answers the question, "What's in it for me?"
In order to create a strong value proposition, you need to understand what gain creators and pain relievers are.
Gain creators are all the benefits or features of your products or services that'll help your customer achieve positive outcomes or create savings that'll make your customer happy. They describe how your product or service creates "customer gains."
Pain relievers, on the other hand, are anything that'll remove obstacles or make your customer's life easier.
Keep in mind, however, that your value proposition isn't just about your product or service–it's about what your product or service can do for your customer. So when you're crafting your value proposition, be sure to focus on the customer and not on yourself.
Why Use It?
The main reason of using the value proposition map is that it helps you focus your marketing efforts. By having a clear understanding of who your target customers are and what they need, you can create messaging and campaigns that speak directly to them.
This is important because when you’re trying to sell a product, you can’t be everything to everyone! The more targeted your marketing is, the more effective it'll be.
Another benefit of using the value proposition canvas is that it can help you create new products and features. By understanding the needs of your target customers, you can design products and features that address those needs.
This is a much more strategic way to approach product development than just making changes and additions based on your own ideas or what you think will sell.
How to Create a Value Proposition Canvas
Now that you know what a value proposition canvas is and why you should use one, let’s walk through the process of creating one
Begin with Customer Analysis
The customer’s needs are always at the center of every business marketing model. That’s why it's important to know your customer profiles, which include your customer jobs, pains, and gains.
The customer jobs, also called "jobs to be done," are the activities that your customers desire or are trying to do on a regular basis.
You must consider the three customers' jobs when filling the customer segment of your proposition canvas--functional, social, and emotional jobs.
This refers to the actions that your target customer usually performs. In other words, these are the physical requirements of the job to be done. You need to match your products or services to what your clients need to solve their practical tasks. This way, customers can actually relate to the specific features of what you're selling and recognize their value.
Are they the type that cares about green projects and wants to be responsible? Do they want to look professional and care about their status? How do they interact with others? How do they carry themselves in public?
In a nutshell, you have to understand what your customers are trying to achieve socially. To do this, you have to study how they behave when other people are around. This way, the likelihood of your services being valued is higher. Customers can immediately see their social responsibility being elevated with your product or service.
It can be recalled that during the peak of COVID pandemic, many companies took social responsibility seriously and helped a lot of their employees. This act makes them appear compassionate and look responsible in the eyes of their employees and target customers.
In the 2014 Nielsen Global Corporate Survey, 55% of consumers vouched for the importance of social jobs in value proposition sketch. Consumers say that they're willing to pay extra for products and services from businesses that create positive social consequences or contributions.
Finally, the emotional job refers to the certain feeling your target market is trying to get.
To have a better understanding of their emotional jobs, you have to study their likes and dislikes. What do customers fear? Any insecurities?
You have to understand the emotional jobs that your customers are trying to do so you can position your services in a way that contributes to their positive emotions. This'll make your product appealing to them.
Customer Pains and Gains
Once you understand the needs of your target customers, it’s time to move on to the next step: understanding what their current situation is and listing out the pains and gains of your target market.
To do this, you need to understand what frustrates them or what negative social consequences they're afraid of—in other words, their pains—and what your customers expect upon purchasing your product—or their gains.
You can use a simple table to list out your customers' pains and gains. For each pain and gain, try to be as specific as possible.
For example, if you’re targeting busy parents as your customer segment, a gain could be “more quality time with family” while a pain could be “lack of time to cook healthy meals.”
Once you have a good understanding of your target market’s pains and gains, you can start to craft a value proposition that'll address their specific needs.
Design Your Value Proposition Canvas
Designing your value map can be overwhelming on the first try. But the more you practice it, the easier it gets.
To help get you started, here are the two most popular value proposition canvas templates that help visualize your business marketing ideas and put them on paper:
Alex Osterwalder’s Value Proposition Canvas
Osterwalder is popularly known as the father of business model canvas. He also co-founded Strategyzer, which is a business model consultancy site.
Osterwalder introduced the importance of business analysis by studying the behavior of your target customers. He said that it would help your business gain loyal customers. It'll also put your products and services in a position where they can grow even more as a brand.
To follow Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas, you have to answer some key questions:
Different Customer Segments
The key questions are: Who are your target customers? What do they think, feel, and do? This is greatly connected to the first step, which is understanding your customer profile.
Your value propositions should tie with your customer segmentation. Find out what are the amazing reasons your customers buy or use your products and services.
This is where you need to make a decision. You have to figure out the right strategies. Now, answer these questions:
- How can I get the proposition delivered successfully?
- Why is this channel the best?
- How many percent is the success rate?
- And, is it working?
We mentioned that the customers are always at the center of your marketing. This means you have to build a good relationship with your target market.
It’s a common marketing tactic to use the customer experiences to get their attention. Interact with them through the channel, way, and method that they prefer.
Revenue streams are crucial because, without proper income flow, you can’t keep the business. This is why it’s important to be clear on how the proposition helps keep the profit coming.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How do your products and services get sold with the value proposition you use?
- How long is the ROI or return on investment?
- Will it take effect immediately?
The key activities are the sets of tasks or actions your brand does to deliver its proposition.
For instance, let’s say you choose the social media platform Instagram as your channel of choice. Now, you have to think about what you need to do on Instagram to achieve your value proposition.
Maybe, you could have a paid partnership with influencers. Or maybe a giveaway would suffice. The decision will be up to you but make sure to explore your options before making a decision.
Key resources refer to the specific assets your business or brand has. These assets have to be unique and allow you to compete in your niche. They could mean the raw materials and your storage facility.
For example, if you're into the retail business, you need to make sure you have enough space for it.
Key Partners or Alliances
Key partners or alliances refer to the connections or links to your business. After all, no man is an island.
This also holds true in business. The business can’t run on its own. It needs alliances for it to operate smoothly. These can be your suppliers, agents, and even your trusted employees.
For online-based companies, this could mean web hosting, telephone, and customer service. It also covers other outsourcing services to keep the business running.
The cost structure is linked to the revenue streams, and you need to understand how these two are connected. Ask yourself what the big contributor in terms of expenses is, and figure out if the price is worth it.
If you sell both physical products and services, the more you have to pay attention to the cost structure of your business model.
Peter Thomson’s Template
Thomson’s template is also known as the new value proposition canvas. It's a template that improves some aspects of Osterwalder’s one. It also puts customers at the center of the proposition. According to Thomson, his value proposition template allows the user to oversee the experiences on the customer’s end.
This new canvas template includes sections like:
This is about the description of your products or services. Here, we’re talking about the functioning characteristics of your brand. This is particularly vital for businesses that sell technology or software products and services. The feature aspect has to be clear and must be valuable to your target customers.
These may also refer to the customer gains. Customer gains are what your customer expects to get from using your product or service.
It’s important to make it clear which product or service features make your customers’ life easier or their tasks easier, and why they should care about them.
Find out how your product makes your customers feel by putting yourself in their shoes. You need to know what emotional jobs need to be addressed. With this, you can customize your customers’ experiences and get them to feel the pleasure or guarantees from your product.
Customers’ wants are purchasing drivers. You need to satisfy them to get your customers to buy your products. Once you do, you can eliminate barriers which stop them from checking out their carts.
Some common examples of shopper’s wants are fast transactions, discounts, and even having brands support social causes they believe in.
Needs are more of the rational reasons why people buy your product. Maybe they have the ‘need’ for something they don’t know yet. And your product can give them that.
For example, iPhone users didn’t know they needed a wireless charger until the Magsafe charger was released, and that Apple no longer offered the charger adapter as part of the iPhone purchase for newer models.
However, this didn’t make the customers feel cheated because Apple satisfies the modern consumers’ want and need to protect the environment. They get away by sticking to their social responsibility of being sustainable--offering less hazardous products and promoting recycling.
Think about what your customer’s fear is. This is also one of the drivers that get your customers to buy your product or subscribe to your services.
For example, if you're an antivirus and anti-theft software provider, you can position yourself as a helping land.
Generali’s recent study examining identity theft and cybercrime found that 76% of people worried about identity theft. This means you already have a high number of people more likely to buy anti-theft software, but what you can do to really reel them in is to offer guarantees.
Substitutes are like your plan B. You have to accept that some people can live without your product.
Find out what these people resorted to instead. Maybe the answers can help you evaluate your proposition so you can design a better one to position your products and services better than the existing solutions.
Creating a value proposition is essential for any business. It helps you understand your customers better and figure out how to position your products or services to appeal to them.
There are many different ways to create a value proposition. The most important thing is to make sure that it's customer-centric and that it addresses their pain points.
Once you have a solid value proposition, you can use it as a guide in all of your marketing and sales efforts. It'll help you focus on what's important to your customers and make sure that you're always providing them with maximum value.
If you're ready to take your business to the next level, then let us help you create your value proposition canvas! We'll work with you to understand your customers and your business, so we can create a value proposition that's tailored to your needs.
Contact us today to get started!