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The Value of a Value Proposition [11]

One of the most critical challenges for organizations is to differentiate themselves from competitors. It is easy to be like everyone else but great companies have their own identities and carefully conceived value propositions. Realize that different isn’t always better, but better is always different!

Think about the following 5 questions (and answers)

1. What is a customer value proposition (CVP)? How does it differ from a mission and vision, slogan, or positioning?

A value proposition is a brief but powerful statement of overall business strategy, such as Lexus’ ‘passionate pursuit of perfection.’ It is the company’s promise to the customer. It should be clear, concise, comprehensive and company-specific. A well-designed CVP is a strategic business tool that considers customer needs and wants, offerings, pricing, promotion, channels, and  a competitive advantage via people, processes and technology. Mission statements explain what the business is doing today while vision statements are forward-thinking. Slogans are creative advertising phrases that capture attention. Positioning may be product- or image-based and relate to designing and delivering value to target markets.

2. How about some great examples of customer value propositions?

  • Amazon.com and you're done
  • Citrix Systems - work anywhere and on any device
  • FedEx - when it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight
  • Gillette - the best a man can get
  • Intel inside
  • Office Depot - taking care of business
  • Target - expect more, pay less
  •  Uber - the smartest way to get around
  •  Visa - it’s everywhere you want to be. 

3. How should managers build a customer value proposition?

Customer value consists of four core components: service, quality, image and price. These elements provide the basis of an organization’s value proposition. The S-Q-I-P diamond can be used to create value for customers, establish a solid business philosophy for the organization, guide strategic decisions and, ultimately, affect business performance. The vertical axis on the diamond — service and quality — represents the backbone of the firm’s offerings, while the horizontal axis — image and price — provide signaling/communicating cues to the target market. The key is to select one or two dimensions to dominate and stay competitive in the other areas. Examples include ‘where shopping is a pleasure’ for Publix’s service; ‘solutions for a small planet’ for IBM’s quality; ‘what can brown can do for you’ for UPS’ image; and ‘always low prices’ for Walmart’s pricing.

4. How does a customer value proposition relate to competitive strategy?

According to Treacy & Wiersema’s influential book, ‘The Discipline of Market Leaders,’ companies can excel by practicing one of three business strategies: best product like Nike’s product leadership, best deal like Target’s operational excellence, or best friend like Nordstrom’s customer intimacy. Innovation, process efficiency, low cost and relationship building are key in implementing value-based strategies.

5. How can organizations improve customer value propositions?

Current CVPs can be enhanced via innovation and adding value. Think about offering legendary customer service like Ritz-Carlton, cutting-edge products like Apple, unique customer experiences like the Virgin Group or pricing innovations like eBay. There are many ways to add value, such as adding benefits, branding, breaking ‘accepted’ industry rules, customization, dominant merchandise
assortments, frequency marketing programs, hassle reduction, internet options, segmented marketing, solving problems, supply chain management or technological superiority.

This blog post is the 11th in a series extracted from Superior Customer Value – Finding and Keeping Customers in the Now Economy, 4th Ed. (2019, Routledge Publishing/ Taylor & Francis). For further information, contact Art Weinstein at artweinstein9@gmail.com , 954-309-0901, www.artweinstein.com .    



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