Brand | Marketing

What’s a Customer Value Proposition? And why should I care?

Brand strategy meeting, Phun Phones Inc., Geebung, Brisbane

The meeting’s not going well. In fact, proceedings have lapsed into a forlorn silence as senior execs stare at the phone before them on the table; a new release Phun Phone 1. 

Garth Landers, CEO, tries to lighten the mood. “What’s Apple’s CVP again?”

Jenny Landers, Marketing Director, opens a manila folder and reads Apple’s customer value proposition. “In touch and in the moment is the main CVP. And then it elaborates about powerful intelligence to help people connect like never before.” 

“Well,” Garth Landers says. “Our Phun Phone 1’s in touch and in the moment. Why don’t we just say that in a different way?”

“Ahm, it’s actually not,” says George Landers, Product Development Manager, “The Phun Phone 1 is only in touch and in the moment in Geebung. We’ve got some coverage issues.”

Garth Landers slaps the table so hard everyone jumps. “Well, there’s our point of difference right there, boys and girls. What other mobile phone company can say they only cover Geebung? Can Apple say that?”

George Landers frowns. “Ahm, no.” 

“Exactly. Let’s go to market with something the major players can’t offer.”

“A phone that only works in Geebung?”


“Geebung, then the world,” says Emily Landers, mother, plonking a bowl of scrambled eggs down beside the Phun phone. “Now clear the table for breakfast.”


Let’s be frank, value propositions have to give value

Whether you’re a start-up operating out of your kitchen or an established business, the right customer value proposition can set you apart from the competition (in a good way). 

A well-worded value proposition clarifies why your product or service is better and provides compelling evidence to drive sales. 


Isn’t a CVP the same as a mission statement, brand position or USP?

No, no, and no. A mission statement expresses your business’s purpose and objectives. A brand position creates a unique image for your product. And a unique selling proposition (USP) is a short statement highlighting a single unique quality that differentiates your product from others. 

A CVP is an internal marketing device which defines the core benefits and values your product offers.  It articulates how your product or service solves problems. For example, a BMW doesn’t just go from A to B; it gets to B more reliably. 


What does an effective CVP look like?

The best customer value propositions start with a short, sharp headline. 

Here’s a good one from Lyft: ‘Set your own hours. Earn on your own terms.’ 

As you can see, they’re not trying to reinvent the creative wheel. They simply express the value they offer new drivers. Prospects looking for a flexible way to earn are already engaged.


And that’s only the first bit. 

A great CVP reinforces this statement with supporting, value-driven copy. 

In the case of Lyft, they say, ‘Maybe you’re saving up for school. Or keeping flexible hours to spend more time with your family. It’s a great time to get in the driver’s seat, connect with the community and earn a little extra cash. Plus, you can tell everyone you’ve got the best boss in town: you.’

Nothing flashy, just simple, value-packed English to steer your marketing in the right direction. 


So what are the key elements of a compelling CVP?

There are three: clarity, relevance, and differentiation. 

How clearly can you define the benefits of your product or service? 

How relevant are those benefits? Are they what customers are looking for?  Do they solve a problem or improve a customer’s circumstances? 

Why is your product or service different to competitors? What are the key benefits that make it better? 

An effective CVP provides succinct, persuasive answers to all three questions in a customer-centric way. 


First things first – interrogate your market

Before you can even begin to define your optimum market fit, you need to find out what the market’s currently wearing. If the market’s obsessed with green, there’s no point turning up in beige. 

Understand your market first with a deep comprehension of customers’ needs, desires, and pain points. That means market research, customer feedback, and competitive analysis. 

It means learning the language your customers want to speak, and then speaking it better than anyone else with clarity, relevance, and a compelling point of difference. 


That’s how you create a powerful CVP to impress. 

A powerful value proposition turns prospects into customers, and leads into sales. A powerful value proposition reassures your customers they’ve made the right decision, and fosters ongoing loyalty. 

So let’s start propositioning. For no-nonsense advice on creating the perfect CVP, get in touch

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