Email subscriber Jennifer recently wrote to us saying, “I’m a big fan of MECLABS and your value proposition work. I’d love to see a story with specific examples of five great value propositions.”
Well, Jennifer, let’s dive right in. The first example of what a value proposition should look like is from the University of Florida/MECLABS Institute Communicating Value and Web Conversion graduate certificate program …
Here is an example of a value proposition argument (sometimes these are referred to as the short-form value proposition statement) from the program’s MMC 5435 Messaging Strategy & the Centrality of the Value Proposition course. It starts with the word “because” in order to answer the question, “If I am your ideal customer, why should I buy from you instead of any of your competitors?”
Because PR Newswire has the most established1 and largest2 news distribution network in the industry, enabling you to more reliably reach your target audience3.
- Industry leader for 59 Years. Established relationships with major news sources such as: Yahoo!, MarketWatch and New York Times
- Distribution to over 200,000 media points and 8,000+ websites, dedicated journalist website with 30,000 active members per month, 150 mobile apps that carry PRN content (broadest in the industry).
- PR Newswire provides flexible and cost-effective distribution options to help you reach niche markets across the U.S.
When this short-form statement was applied to a landing page in an experiment, it resulted in a 22% increase in clickthrough. You can see the winning treatment below and how it naturally flowed from the value proposition statement.
B2B database marketing solution
Here is another great value proposition example from the UF/MECLABS program; this one is from the MMC 5436 Messaging Methodologies and the Practice of Conversion Optimization course.
This is for a company that provides database marketing solutions for small to medium-sized business.
Because we have the most comprehensive1 and accurate2 lead database.
- Includes access to over 210 million U.S. consumers, 14 million U.S. businesses, and 13 million executives.
- We have a team of 600 researchers that verify the data daily and make over 26 million verification calls a year, 80,000 calls a day.
That value proposition was applied to the following webpage:
When the webpage was tested as part of an experiment, it generated a 201% increase in lead capture rate.
Realtor Kristan Cloud-Malin
I can’t share every example from the UF/MECLABS program, of course. So here are a few publicly available examples.
“A value proposition argument or statement rarely makes a direct appearance on page or in an advertisement. Typically, it’s more likely that you’ll find a single highly-exclusive evidential expressed in marketing collateral,” Gregory Hamilton, Director of Education, MECLABS Institute, and Associate Professor, University of Florida, told me.
Here’s an example from a Realtor in Jacksonville who used nice evidentials to provide credibility to the way she expressed her value proposition.
Another example Greg gave me was Delta Airlines, which does a nice job expressing an “only” factor in an otherwise commoditized industry.
Even when Delta has to convey a more generic message — essentially, “we’re big” — it uses evidentials and specificity to convey a more forceful value proposition.
The Honest Company
This next example comes courtesy of Gaby Paez, Associate Director of Research, MECLABS Institute, who came across it while conducting a summary competitive analysis for a MECLABS Research Partner.
The company has a strong, unique value proposition, using a good mix of health and safety, and also unique designs.
And the Honestly Free Guarantee promises customers very safe products.
Here’s how The Honest Company expresses different elements of its value proposition:
- Exclusivity: It’s the manufacturer (not just a reseller) and offers the unique Honestly Free Guarantee
- Credibility: Founders’ video, giving back timeline, awards and certifications
- Clarity: Video with co-founders (human touch) and unique and clear section on product pages for third-party awards and certifications
“They are masters to me. Every customer touch point has been carefully designed to provide or remind value,” Gaby said.
The Honest Company is also an example of why it’s important to ensure there is true value in your marketing proposition. When The Wall Street Journal reported that its laundry detergent contained ingredients that it pledged to avoid, the company faced backlash from customers and eventually agreed to drop use of the disputed ingredient.
So, keep the above in mind as an example of good presentation strategies to communicate or support value. But Gaby pointed out you must also remember that if your company is not truthful, things will backfire for it sooner or later.
Apple iPod launch
For over nine minutes, Steve Jobs takes the audience step-by-step through a unique value proposition when launching the iPod.
First, he discusses the appeal of music.
He leverages exclusivity by showing charts that communicate how other music options don’t have this feature set.
His credibility comes not only from his position and previous successes, but by physically being able to show the product and leverage Apple design’s strong primary value proposition.
And he walks through each feature methodically (“three major breakthroughs”), not just listing a few bullet points, to ensure clarity of communication.
An effective value proposition is a unique value proposition
One key element of all of these value propositions is that they have an “only” factor.
So, here’s an example of value propositions that are not unique. Can you tell the difference between HP and Epson?
Epson says, “Where there’s business, there’s Epson.”
HP says, “HP: everywhere you do business.”
And then goes on to say, “HP provides the products, services and solutions that help you simplify IT. Because your business is everywhere you are.”
This is an example of what I like to call blandvertising. A copywriter put those words together, and they sound vaguely businesslike and professional, but they also just kind of wash over you. What do they really mean?
I don’t blame the writer; I blame the marketer. If you’re working with a freelance writer or agency, you need to make sure they are empowered with a clear and forceful value proposition. Or else, the writing you get back will be well-formulated and sound professional but also be fairly meaningless to prospective customers.
So, what could Epson and HP do differently? Well, I’m guessing the resulting conclusion they’re trying to get across is, “We’re big. And we can solve a lot of your problems. All over the world.”
If that’s the intended goal, specificity could really help them get across a powerful value proposition. For a nice example of how to convey this value proposition in a forceful way, just scroll up and see Delta.
You can follow Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content, MarketingExperiments, on Twitter @DanielBurstein.
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~ Thomas Jefferson