I recently read an interesting article on Harvard Business Review saying there are only four kinds of value propositions:
1. Best quality
Your company provides the best quality product or service in its category.
2. Best bang for buck
You don’t have to be the cheapest, but you do have to provide the most value for the money spent.
3. Luxury and aspiration
Promising an experience of the wealthy lifestyle to aspirational customers. Something about this one feels fuzzy and bleeds into “best quality”, from my view.
One of the better propositions—your category is a “must-have” solution. It doesn’t mean you don’t have competition, but the leader in must-have industries will take home a worthy prize.
Now, this is an interesting thought experiment. But to me, part of your value proposition involves how you position yourself relative to your competition.
Best quality, best bang for buck, and even the luxury and aspiration value propositions are fairly subjective and hard to defend.
Must-haves would be a category value proposition, like being a doctor or lawyer. No differentiator there.
I prefer to focus a value proposition around the areas that make you distinctly better for your ideal clients.
By doubling and tripling down on the thing that you do best, you build a competitive advantage around it. It becomes your moat.
But you can’t do all things, so you need to pick one or two and go all-in to have a chance at being a market leader.
If you want to read a more fascinating version of strategy, positioning, and value propositions, check out the book Trade-Off by Kevin Maney.
It changed how I view the world and made far more sense to me than this list. It doesn’t replace these ideas, but it does offer something more practical and comprehensive, in my view.